Other Facilities and Outdoor Flumes
Additional buildings contain individual river mechanics and hydraulics structure models. The largest indoor river mechanics flume is over 125 ft long by 40 ft wide with a discharge of up to 70 cfs. The largest of two flumes located outdoors is 180 ft long by 20 ft wide, and has a maximum depth of 8 ft and discharge of 200 cfs.
Overtopping Research Facility
The near-prototype-size Overtopping Research Facility consists of a concrete head box, chute and tailbox. The chute is 10 ft wide with a 50 ft vertical drop on a fixed 2:1 (H:V) slope. Flume walls are 5 ft high and extend the full length at four places along the right wall near the crest, midpoint and toe of the flume.
A 36 in diameter water delivery pipe diffuses into the head box to create prototype overtopping conditions. The pipeline can deliver a discharge of up to 130 cfs at a corresponding overtopping depth of approximately 1ft at full width. A diesel pump can provide an additional 30 cfs for a maximum total of 160 cfs. The overtopping depth can be increased to 5 ft at a reduced flume width of 5 ft.
Dam Foundation Erosion Research Facility
The Dam Foundation Erosion Facility is used to study erosion of dam foundations and abutments. A 28 in pipe terminates within a 67 in diffuser that discharges a jet through a 10 ft x 3.5 in rectangular nozzle into a tailbox. The tailbox, a 55 ft long x 30 ft wide x 15 ft deep, is controlled by stoplogs and gates. Maximum discharge is 110 cfs.
Water Supply and Measurement
Models and flumes in the Hydraulic Lab are supplied with water from a once acre-foot sump located under the lab floor, or directly from the adjacent Horsetooth Reservoir (a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation-Big Thompson Project reservoir). Up to 500 horsepower is available for pumping water to the sediment flumes, while up to 300 horsepower is available to pump water to the floor models.
A 36 in diameter pipeline carriers water from Horsetooth Reservoir to the Hydraulics Laboratory and continues to the Overtopping Facility and the Erosion Facility. Both 24 in and 12 in main test lines are available to the labs. Test lines provide approximately 60 ft of straight pipe, with remote control valves 200 ft upstream and downstream of the lab building.
A bifurcation of the pipeline from Horsetooth Reservoir directs flow to the Overtopping Facility or the Erosion Facility at up to 250 ft of static head. Valves along the pipeline control discharge.
Reservoir water quality is almost culinary, with very low turbidity. Reservoir water temperature ranges seasonally from 40° to 55°F. Water in the Hydraulics Lab is steam heated to ambient temperature.
Direct volumetric measurements or secondary flow meters are available for flow measurement. Volumetric measurement, to the precise standards of the National Institute of Standards and Testing (NIST), is possible up to 12 cfs with 0.25 percent accuracy. Most model and test stand flows are measured with orifice, Venture, or sonic flow meters, to allow undisturbed flow testing with 1 percent accuracy.
The Engineering Research Center has well-equipped instrumentation, repair and fabrication shops and facilities.
The fabrication shops are able to design, fabricate and repair all types of research equipment, including test setups and models from small scale to prototype size. Tool and die makers and machinists are available who specialize in fabricating with different types of plastic, wood, ceramics and metals. Qualified personnel are available for fabrication supervision, drafting, instrument fabrication, sheet metal work, welding, carpentry, heavy equipment operation, and steel and concrete construction. Experienced craftsmen are also available for metal casting, spinning, and plating.
The Lab facilities maintain a full complement of fabrication and construction equipment and materials to accommodate from small-scale to prototype-scale model development.