Skip to main content

Sediment transport in fluvial, estuarine and coastal environment

Final Report Summary - SEDITRANS (Sediment transport in fluvial, estuarine and coastal environment)

SEDITRANS was a Multi-ITN (Multipartner Networks for Initial Training) under the Marie Curie Actions of the 7th Framework Programme. The Network consisted of six (6) academic and four (4) industrial beneficiaries (see the attached table with the contact information of each beneficiary). The research theme was sediment transport in the fluvial, estuarine and coastal environment. SEDITRANS provided an elaborate and interdisciplinary training-through-research program to 12 early stage and 4 experienced researchers. It included a comprehensive academic program, secondments at industrial partners, workshops, winter and summer schools, a closing thematic conference and complementary activities. The Network was structured to help the coordination of research and educational activities in sediment transport in a European level and increase the European competitiveness in this important field of S&T. The SEDITRANS website is

The effects of floods, storm surges and other inundation hazards are greatly amplified by undesired morphological changes in rivers, estuaries and coastal areas. Also, morphological changes in reservoirs and in the vicinity of man-made structures, inland and offshore, may hinder their functions, disrupt water supply and energy production and considerably increase the risk of failure of structures. Substantial economic losses, human fatalities, disruption of the social fabric and destruction of ecosystems may thus occur as a result of unmitigated morphological changes. To understand and predict the evolution of river, estuarine or coastal morphology, a deep knowledge of sediment transport mechanisms and its relation with flow hydrodynamics is of paramount importance. Furthermore, the frequency and magnitude of disasters associated or caused by excessive morphological dynamism are likely to increase due to climate changes. Hence, the sensible research investment is on fundamental sediment transport processes. Phenomenological insights must then be included into morphology predicting tools that, then, can be applied in the engineering realm by well-trained practitioners.

In this project, a European Network was formed for the coordination of the research and training activities on sediment transport with emphasis on coastal and river flows and reservoir sedimentation and interaction with man-made structures. The primary achieved objectives of SEDITRANS were:
• A well-planned training-through-research program to the trainees who conducted high-quality scientific research, made important contributions to the field, and strived to become the connecting link between academia and industry.
• The completion of high-quality training to talented researchers through a structured educational program so that they acquired in-depth knowledge and understanding of the state-of-the-art on the field. The training program included advanced-level courses and network-wide training activities such as winter/summer schools, workshops and a closing conference among others.
• The acquisition by the researchers of all necessary scientific, technical and management skills for a successful career in industry or in academia. This was achieved through special courses, attendance and presentation at international conferences, secondments at the industrial partners, etc.
• The establishment of strong ties between the participating academic and industrial partners, which initiated a lasting collaboration between them and accelerated the transfer between academia and industry.
• The dissemination of the results and the increase of the number of articles authored by European scientists in international journals and proceedings of international conferences.

During the 4 years of the project, work progressed without serious deviations from the original planning. All 12 ESRs were enrolled in PhD programs, and all 4 ERs were involved in the program. All planned secondments of the Fellows were successfully materialized; they included a mix of academic and industrial tasks. Finally, eight training events and a closing conference were organized by SEDITRANS, while several sessions at international conferences were also organized/sponsored by SEDITRANS.

The progress and the completion of the research work on all Work Packages of SEDITRANS was satisfactory:
• WP1. Algorithm development of sediment transport due to grain motion
• WP2. Bed morphology and turbulence in rivers
• WP3. Algorithm development of suspended sediment transport due to turbulence
• WP4. Sediment transport in river flows
• WP5. Sediment transport in coastal flows
• WP6. Sediment-laden density underflows and delta dynamics

The following milestones were achieved:
1. Development of a calibrated physical model for fluid-saturated granular mixtures and measurement.
2. Completion of algorithm and software for the numerical treatment of interfaces.
3. Database of large scale bed morphology.
4. Database of turbulent open-channel flows over mobile beds.
5. Extension of the immersed boundary (IB) method for free-surface flows and sediment transport.
6. Numerical simulations of free-surface flows over rigid bed.
7. Idealized granular-flow experiments.
8. Implementation of free-surface boundary conditions based on the IB method and the AMR grid topology.
9. Incorporation of the bed sediment transport model of WP1 into the code developed under WP5.
10. Construction of beach morphology and instrumentation setup in wave basin at UPAT.
11. End of experimental work on bottom currents.
12. Completion of software for the numerical integration of two-phase physical model.
13. Conceptual model for turbulent stresses, flow resistance and bedload transport.
14. Numerical implementation of the mathematical model for 2DH open-channel flows with mobile beds.
15. Numerical simulations of turbulent flows over sediment-laden bed.
16. Introduction of the sediment transport model into an existing depth-averaged river flow simulation tool.
17. Validation of the new model of milestone 16.
18. Validation of numerical models of bottom currents of WP6.
19. End of experimental work about the influence of initial triggering conditions of gravity currents on their erosive capacity.
20. Validation of the model of milestone 14.

The research work completed during the project resulted in a total of 23 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 3 articles in book series and 56 articles and abstracts in conference proceedings. Furthermore, the Fellows have organized and participated in several outreach activities targeting the public and high-school students.

The management of the project by the Coordinator and the Supervisory Board progressed smoothly without problems. Eight Supervisory Board meetings were held during the 4 years of the project.

Project Coordinator
Prof. Athanassios (Thanasis) DIMAS,
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Patras, 26500 Patras, Greece