Hydraulics Modeling Laboratory


With the addition of the new Hydraulics building, the Utah Water Research Laboratory has gained some exciting new capabilities. The 11,000-square-foot laboratory will increase the number and scope of open channel hydraulics modeling projects possible at the UWRL. Detailed large scale models of dams and spillways, as well as other hydraulic models, can be constructed and tested with an even larger possible flow rate than the existing hydraulics laboratory. As a recirculating facility, the new laboratory can provide a flow of nearly 50,000 gallons per minute, in any season of the year, without impacting river operations. With balanced inflow and outflow, the stored water used in research studies is freshened constantly from the Logan River, but the level of the river never changes.

susu stair step model

Exclusively for physical models

  • Triples the UWRL’s capacity for large models.
  • Models as large as 56 ft by 140 feet.
  • Model flow rates of 140 cfs.
  • Model reservoir depths of 6 feet.


  • Overhead crane system.
  • Five large overhead doors.
  • Indoor access for large trucks.
  • Equipment access to all model components.
  • High bay for overhead room and photography.
  • Efficient lighting, no shadows.

Large (close to prototype size) models

  • Less distortion due to differences in friction and viscous effects.
  • Increased accuracy of modeling vortices and surface disturbances.
  • Better correlation with and calibration of numerical models.

Building security with restricted access

  • Unlimited use of laser (PVT) measurement systems.
  • DOD, DOE, and Homeland Security projects.


Hydraulics Lab

Flow Conditions

  • Testing independent of other hydraulics lab.
  • Indoors testing independent of weather.
  • Testing independent of irrigation canals and river demands.
  • Testing 24-7.
  • Constant head and steady flow capacity.
  • Long duration model runs with simulation of hydrographs.
  • Constant water quality and temperature.

Better quality control programs

Hydraulics Lab

  • Increased flow measurement accuracy and water surface elevation measurements.
  • Secondary flow measurement for quality control verification.
  • Increased accuracy in velocity measurements.
  • Flow measurement traceable to NIST with calibration using lab’s 300,000 lb weight tanks.

The new Hydraulics Lab was dedicated on September 24, 2009.