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Multiscale modelling of migration of pollutant particles in rivers

Project description

Exploring river pollution

A natural and essential component of rivers and key in their functioning, fine-grained sediment (FGS) could also be a major source of chemical and physical pollution. Thanks to intensified agricultural activity and the associated rise in soil erosion in Europe, the amount of FGS in water streams has increased. As a result, the quality of water is deteriorating. To understand the dynamics of such sedimentation, the EU-funded MULTIPIR project will investigate the migration of FGS by developing multi-scale models to predict its transport and other factors. Ultimately, the project will create a pollution control map to guide river management.


River pollution has become a serious environmental problem in the Europe and worldwide as it dramatically affects the freshwater quality and human health. A major source of chemical and physical pollution in rivers is small particles known as fine-grained sediment (FGS). Intensified agricultural practices and the associated increase in soil erosion in Europe has caused a shape increase in the supply of FGS to water streams. Consequently, the water quality in many rivers in Europe have deteriorated and are failing to meet minimum water quality standards. Hence, there is a urgent need to address the river pollution problem through a thorough understanding on how much supplied FGS infiltrates into the river bed and how much is resuspended and migrated at different hydrodynamic conditions, i.e. the dynamics of FGS. MULTIPIR takes an inter-disciplinary approach to tackle this challenge heads-on by combining the extraordinary experience of the researcher in erosion, sand production, hydraulics and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with the expertise of the supervisor in coupled discrete element methods with CFD (DEM-CFD) and solid-liquid flows. A combined experimental and numerical investigation on the migration of FGS in the river will be performed, from which multiscale models will be developed to predict the infiltration and re-suspension of FGS at the microscopic level and the transport of FGS at different hydraulic conditions at the macroscopic scale. Using the developed model, a river pollution control map will be developed to guide the river managements. It is for the first time that advanced engineering approaches, e.g. DEM-CFD and advanced imaging techniques, are employed to address the challenging environmental problem and to develop a science-based river pollution control strategy that can benefit European citizens and beyond.


Net EU contribution
€ 224 933,76
Stag hill
GU2 7XH Guildford
United Kingdom

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South East (England) Surrey, East and West Sussex West Surrey
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00