In the debris-flow flume, fast-moving landslides, such as debris flows, mudflows, and lahars, are created and studied on scale. The flume is especially designed to study the dynamics of debris flows and the processes by which they erode and entrain bed sediments. Experiments performed in this setup have amongst others improved our understanding of (i) the seismic and normal-force fluctuation signatures of debris flows; (ii) the effects of debris-flow composition on erosion processes and mechanisms; and (iii) the effects of the grain-size distribution and moisture content of the channel bed on erosion processes and mechanisms.
The experimental setup consists of a straight rectangular channel of 5.4 m long and 0.3 m wide, which can be inclined at angles ranging between 0 and 40 degrees. Debris flows are generated at the top of this channel by mixing sediments and water in a customized force-action mixer, and releasing them into the channel. The flume is equipped with a number of point lasers measuring flow depth, a load cell for measuring normal force and normal-force fluctuations, a geophone for measuring vertical and horizontal force fluctuations, pore-pressure sensors, and a topographic scanner for quantifying channel-bed erosion.