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Building with Nature Guideline > Toolbox > Impact Assessment > Morphological predictor for mixed beds 

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Morphological predictor for mixed beds

Type: Model

Project Phase: Planning and Design

Purpose: Predict changes in bed level and composition resulting from deposition and erosion processes

Requirements: Basic modelling skills; knowledge on sediment transport; field data on bed composition

Relevant Software: Delft3D; also available as stand-alone tool





Changes in level and composition of the bed of surface water systems may affect both their economic and ecological functions. It is therefore often desirable to predict trends in bed level and composition due to human interventions or autonomous natural developments. This facilitates, for instance, a habitat assessment of future Building with Nature projects. A sand-mud bed composition module has been developed to predict of bed level and composition changes as computed from deposition and erosion of multiple sediment fractions. Depending on the mud fraction, the bed may behave cohesive or non-cohesive, resulting in different erosion behaviour. The bed module consists of multiple layers and may include mixing by bioturbation or bedform migration. The bed module is open-source and has been developed by Deltares. It is available both within Delft3D and as a stand-alone tool. For a quick assessment of potential bed level and bed composition changes due to human or natural changes of the environment, it can be run in 1D-mode. It is also applicable for a comprehensive 3D model study in the detailed design phase of a project. The intended users of the bed module are scientists or professionals with some affinity to sediment transport.

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How to Use

The intended users of the sand-mud-bed module are scientists and professionals with affinity to sediment transport. The bed module can be used in a simple 1-D mode with a small number of sediment fractions and bed layers. It can also be used in a more advanced 3-D model with many fractions and layers. The best choice depends on the questions to be answered, the complexity of the system, the quality of available field data and the modeller’s experience.

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Practical Applications

On 29 June 2012, an international workshop was organised in Delft to disseminate the knowledge on and promote the use of the bed module within the communities of Building with Nature, NCK (Netherlands Centre for Coastal Research) and PACE (a German-Dutch science project on the fine sediment dynamics in the Wadden Sea). 

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