Spatial variations in river bed porosity


Key Data

Goal: Investigation of the influence of the fluvial sediment structures on the porosity

Method: Sedimentological methods and numerical modelling

Duration: July 2020 to July 2023

Partner: 1



Wenjia Xu

Scientific staff


+49 241 80 25754


  fluvial sediment showing imbrication Copyright: © IWW fluvial sediment showing imbrication

Description and goals

Spatial structures can be observed in fluvial sediments. These can be a layered arrangement of particles according to their sizes or a tile-like bedding of platy as well as disk-shaped gravel. The layered arrangement of the sediments is called stratification, whereas the roof tile-like bedding is called imbrication. Even with the same composition, the porosity of a sediment packing, where stratification or imbrication can be observed, differs from the porosity of a sediment packing without spatial structures. Therefore, the aim of this project is to investigate the influence of the fluvial sediment structures (specifically stratification and imbrication) on porosity.

Sedimentological methods and numerical modeling are combined for the investigation. The field campaign as well as the sediment sampling will be carried out at the rivers Buëch and Torrent de Barnèche in France. With the improved understanding of the influence of sediment structures, the existing methods to predict porosity will be refined.


Partners and funding

The following partners are involved in the research project:

  • Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management (RWTH Aachen)
  • Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde

The project is jointly funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

  Logo of DFG