Hydraulics: Research

Hydraulic Experts
Steve Barfuss | 435-797-3214 | steve.barfuss@usu.edu
Mike Johnson | 435-797-3176 | michael.johnson@usu.edu
Zac Sharp | 435-797-3167 | zac.sharp@usu.edu
Blake Tullis | 435-797-3194 | blake.tullis@usu.edu
Business Contact
Maria Gates | maria.gates@usu.edu | 435-797-3120

Hydraulic research at the UWRL focuses primarily on applied research topics related to spillways and weirs, pipe flow, flow requirement, fish passage, energy dissipation, and air demand for open channel pipe flow.

Research Topics in Hydraulics Include:

  • Labyrinth & Piano Key Weirs
  • Piping Effects on Flow Meters
  • Residential Flow Metering
  • Fish Passage/Fish Barriers
  • Multiphase Flow in Conduits
  • Public Safety in Hydraulic Structures
  • Flow Meter Design using CFD
  • Cavitation
  • Energy Dissipation/Free-Discharge Valves

Highlighted Research Areas:

Residential Flow Metering

This research has been ongoing for the past fifteen years. The effects of residential flow meter age, particulates in the water, meter type, extreme low flow rates and laboratory measurement techniques on meter accuracy are being studied.Below are recent publications from this ongoing research:

residential flow meter test

Flow Meter Design & Flow Measurement Structure Sensitivity Using CFD

This research is focused on using Computational Fluid Dynamics to aid in the design of flow meters and to evaluate the sensitivity of a flow measurement structure when geometric and hydraulic conditions change. Below are recent publications from this research:

Brazos Dam Spillway

Service and Outreach

Board and Committee Memberships

United States Society on Dams (USSD)—(members: Steven Barfuss)

USSD Hydraulics of Dams—(Spillways Subcommittee Chair, Steven Barfuss)

American Water Works Association (AWWA)—(Steven Barfuss, member; Water Loss Committee: Steven Barfuss, member; Customer Metering Practices Committee: Steven Barfuss, member; Standards Committee 161 on Butterfly Valves and M49 Manaual: Michael Johnson, member; Water Meter Standards Committee 380 for developing AWWA Standards C700, C701, C702, C703, C704, C706, C707, C708, C710, C712, C713, and M6 Manual on Meter Testing: Michael Johnson, member; Standards Committee 242 on Gate and Check Valves, Michael Johnson, member)

International Association of Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR)—(Steven Barfuss, member)

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)—(Steven Barfuss, member; EWRI Hydraulics and Waterways Council: Blake Tullis, Secretary)

Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO)—(Steven Barfuss, member)

Bluestone Dam UASCE IEPA and 100% DDR Review Panel—(William Rahmeyer, member)

Utah Floodplain and Storm Water Management Association—(William Rahmeyer, board of directors member)

Transportation Research Board (TRB)—(Hydraulic, Hydrology, and Water Quality Committee: Blake Tullis, member)

International Association for Hydraulic Research (IAHR)—(Hydraulic Structures Committee: Blake Tullis, Vice-Chair)

Utah State University, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering—(ABET Committee: Blake Tullis, Chair)

Water Engineering Education

Faculty within the Water Division have joint appointments with the Utah Water Research Laboratory and with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at USU. The academic curriculum supporting research is one of the most comprehensive offered in the United States.

Elements of ongoing research projects are routinely and effectively incorporated into the courses offered. The program combines research, training, and experience to understand water issues and water resources management challenges in the State of Utah, the United States, and the world.