Laboratory Evaluation of a Conductivity Probe for Scour Monitoring

by David S. Mueller, (M.ASCE),
Mark N. Landers, (M.ASCE),

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


Laboratory tests were used to evaluate the ability of conductivity sensors to measure streambed elevation. Tests were completed on a 2.1-m probe with a resolution of about 8 cm that was constructed at the U.S. Geological Survey Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility. A series of tests were used to evaluate the probe's performance in sand, gravel, and clay, in both calm and turbulent water, in fresh and brackish water, and in static and dynamic conditions. The probe clearly defined the water-sand and water-gravel interfaces for all conditions tested; however, the water-clay interface could not be clearly defined due to the high conductivity of the clay. Although the probe worked for a wide range of conditions, the physical design and limitations of the probe are significant problems that have to be overcome before this technique could be considered an efficient and cost effective method for scour monitoring.

Subject Headings: Probe instruments | Laboratory tests | Soil properties | Scour | Clays | Soil water | Salt water

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