Flood risk research to be presented at the House of Commons

Heriot-Watt PhD student Janice Blanc, from the School of the Built Environment, has been selected to make a presentation on her research work at the prestigious SET for Britain 2013 event in March at the Palace of Westminster.

Janice, from the Institute for Infrastructure and Environment, has been researching how the trapping of debris at trash screens placed at culvert inlets is influenced by screen geometry, position and the prevailing hydraulic conditions.

Investigating flood risk    

Culverts, especially those which are prone to becoming blocked, may considerably increase the risk of serious flooding. While trash screens may be fitted at a culvert inlet to prevent debris from entering, unless they are well designed and maintained they may increase the potential for flooding if they become blocked by trapping debris that would have passed unrestricted through the culvert.

While current guidelines for screen design focus mainly on ensuring sufficient screen area is provided to handle the expected debris load, many different trash screen configurations can influence blockage potential.

Analysing trash screen configurations

To gain a better understanding of how blockage at trash screens and potential associated flood risk is influenced by screen geometry and position, Janice has undertaken an extensive experimental analysis of the performance of different trash screen configurations using a Froude-scaled physical model.

At the event Janice will be presenting a poster and explaining the need for her research and her findings to a range of senior academics, scientists and MPs.

SET for Britain

The SET for Britain events were established to bring ground-breaking UK science, engineering, medicine and technology research to the House of Commons by those actually doing the research. The aim is to foster greater interaction and networking between researchers and to contribute to greater dialogue, interaction and awareness between Britain's early-career researchers and MPs and other Parliamentarians both at Westminster and back in Members' Constituencies about significant new research areas and discoveries.

Mr Ian Murray, Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South, whose constituency includes a number of problematic trash screens that Janice references in her research, has confirmed he is planning on attending and commented "I have been attending this annual event since I was elected an MP and it is truly fascinating."