Micah Wyssmann, CEE doctoral student whose research is in water resources, won first place at the 6th Annual UT Watershed Symposium held on September 26. The interdisciplinary symposium received about 15 poster entries from CEE, Architecture and Landscape Architecture departments and UTIA. Wyssmann’s poster was entitled “Modeling the Stream Restoration Impacts of Boulders: Applying the Bedload Virtual Velocity Concept,” which focused on a numerical model that he is developing with his advisor, CEE Professor Thanos Papanicolaou.
The goal of this research is to improve the physical understanding of sediment transport so that we can develop predictive tools that can function in different types of rivers and streams. In mountainous streams in particular, such as in the nearby Smoky Mountains, sediment movement is difficult to predict because large boulders modify flow characteristics and can provide shelter to mobile sediment. Mimicking this natural environment, stream restoration practicioners have also artificially placed boulders to manage flow and sediment transport in a river reach. Wyssmann’s hope in the development of this model, is to simultaneously provide new scientific insights into sediment transport mechanics and produce a practical prediction tool that can be used by river restoration engineers.