UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering


Interaction of extreme flooding with built environment

This experimental project is a collaboration between UCL CEGE and the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, University of Bath.

1 September 2017

The aim of the project is to generate flash floods in a controlled laboratory environment to provide physical understanding of the impact of intensive flush fronts on buildings.

The project provides high quality flash flood data to the research community for the development and calibration of future numerical models. The data will allow us to validate numerical models to be used for minimisation of extreme flood impacts on the built environment. Understanding of velocities and impact forces on buildings associated with flash floods will help to provide recommendations for safe design of buildings in areas of high risk of extreme floods.

The experiments are conducted in a 20 metrelong flume in UCL’s Mechanical Engineering Fluids Laboratory. An elevated reservoir with dimensions of 2.9m×1.2m×0.5m was built at the upstream end of the flume. The reservoir has a big gate with hinges at the top, which rotates upwards and instantly releases the stored water. An energetic flow moves down the slope and interacts with model buildings. Experiments are performed for different types of slope surface, modelling different natural conditions. Changing of water level at different locations is monitored by ultrasonic probes. The total force and pressure applied by the flow to buildings is carefully measured and the process of interaction is filmed by high speed cameras from different positions. Experimental trials have been successfully completed and a large set of data has been obtained, which is currently being analysed.