Understand the mobility of aquatic sediment with SEDflume.

A proven and easy-to-use tool, SEDflume can help quantify how a sediment bed responds to environmental forces.


Using SEDflume, we can answer your questions on sediment erodibility and scour effects, dredge material stability, the integrity of capping material, and more. SEDflume provides a range of quantitative mobility parameters—including erosion rate and critical shear stress profiles with depth at shear stresses greater than 10 Pa.

Our SEDflume laboratory has the capability to measure particle size distribution, density, and organic content for maximum data utility in site investigations. The results can inform conceptual site models and desktop studies and help in numerical model development.



The SEDflume conceptual diagram, above, shows how the core is analyzed. The collected sediment sample (on right) showcases variation in bedded sediment with depth.




  • Erosion and critical shear stress profiles with depth
  • Erosion and critical shear stress measurements at high shear stresses (greater than 10 Pa)
  • Direct quantification of particle size distribution, density, and loss on ignition for maximum data correlation
  • Core collection in water depths exceeding 1,000 m


  • Direct determination of erosion potential of cohesive and noncohesive sediments
  • Unique data for use in engineering and environmental studies of sediment stability
  • Quantitative evaluation of capping material effectiveness
  • Evaluation of dredge material stability


Erosion rates relative to depth within the sample



Sheer Stress and Erosion

For a robust description of the sediment bed, critical shear stress and erosion rates can be correlated with measurements of particle size distribution, bulk density, or other geotechnical parameters. Results can be used to compare disparate areas and depths within the system to determine more or less erodible areas relative to a site average.


Intercore comparison of erosion rate relative to sitewide mean



Supplemental Sediment Testing

Integral maintains two laboratories to support SEDflume and sediment characterization studies. In addition to erodibility testing, Integral operates a Beckman Coulter LS 13-320 laser diffraction particle size analyzer to provide sediment size ranges from 0.4 to 2,000 microns. Samples can also be analyzed for loss on ignition, wet and dry bulk density, and total suspended solids via standard ASTM methods. Data from the physical characterization testing can be used to refine site-specific models.


Sample particle size distribution via laser diffraction




SEDflume has been used at sites worldwide to provide site-specific sediment information:

Mozambique, Africa
Bunbury, Perth, Australia
Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco Bay, California
Lauritzen Canal, San Francisco Bay, California
South San Francisco Bay, California
Apra Harbor, Guam
Augusta Bay, Sicily, Italy
Lago Maggiore, Piedmonte, Italy
Berry’s Creek Study Area, New Jersey
Delaware River Estuary, New Jersey
Gowanus Canal, New York
Newtown Creek, New York
Willamette River, Portland, Oregon
Lake Hartwell, Clemson, South Carolina
Lower Duwamish River, Seattle, Washington
Washington Navy Yard, Anacostia River, Washington, DC


For more details on services, see below.


Site Characterization

To accurately characterize sediment transport, two of the most important parameters to understand and quantify are the sediment erosion rate and the critical shear stress. Integral’s SEDflume directly measures these parameters in sediment cores obtained in the field or reconstructed in the laboratory. With SEDflume, our team can get the data needed to answer important environmental questions—leading to better site decisions.

Site Characterization | Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Studies | Sediment Transport | Data Collection | Laboratory Analyses

Erodibility Studies

SEDflume helps measure the erosion rate at site locations. Using SEDflume, we can determine the critical shear stress for erosion and develop a relationship between environmental forces and erosion rates. SEDflume applies an increasing range of shear stresses to a collected sediment core to measure associated erosion rates. This process is applied multiple times over the length of a sediment core to develop a profile of bed properties associated with depth. Supplemental data—including particle size distribution via laser diffraction, bulk density, and loss on ignition—provide a robust data set.

Sediment Transport Models | Spatial Analysis | Geotechnical Studies | Sheer Stress | Erosion Rates

Laboratory Services

We maintain mobile and fixed laboratories to support SEDflume and sediment characterization studies. Samples collected from rivers, lakes, estuaries, and deep ocean systems are analyzed in Integral’s mobile SEDflume laboratory or securely shipped and processed at Integral’s fixed sediment laboratory in Santa Cruz, California.

Our equipment includes a Beckman Coulter LS 13-320 laser diffraction particle size analyzer, which provides sediment size ranges from 0.4 to 2,000 microns. Samples are analyzed for loss on ignition, wet and dry bulk density, and total suspended solids via standard ASTM methods. We also perform consolidation and settling studies.

Sampling | Analysis | Water Content | Bulk Density | Laser Diffraction Analysis | ASTM Methods | Total Suspended Solids | Consolidation and Settling Studies

Surface and Water Column Characterization

Whether our clients need data at the water surface or from the deepest sediment bed, we offer a range of oceanographic instrumentation to collect it. Wind-driven and long-period surface waves are measured with an array of wave buoys and acoustic sensors. Within the water column, key factors such as velocity, total suspended solids, salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity can be measured. Metrics on these constituents can help determine flux of material through a system over time, calibrate and validate numerical models, and inform analyses of site-specific long-term trends.

Water Quality Monitoring | ADCP | Acoustics | CTD | Coastal Monitoring | Ocean Waves | Data Collection | Wave Buoy

Monitoring Technologies

We excel at designing and implementing monitoring programs that use the right combination of technologies to meet your needs. In addition to SEDflume, we offer other state-of-the-science instrumentation and methods. These include:

  • Optically based In situ Characterization System (OPTICS) to characterize contaminant concentrations and flux.
  • Sediment profile and plan view imaging to map physical, geochemical, and biological seafloor conditions.
  • Acoustics tools to collect and analyze data using high frequency acoustic vector sensors. Acoustic tools can help to characterize marine mammal activity, anthropogenic sounds, and the general soundscape at an area of interest.

ADCP | OPTICS | SEDflume | Sediment Profile Imaging | Acoustics | Remote Sensing | Aerial Drones | Multiparameter Water Quality Sonde | Spotter | Drifter | Laser Particle Sizer | Real-Time Systems


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