Fluid Dynamics Lab

Fieldwork at Blackpool Sands

Fieldwork took place in Blackpool Sands (Devon) with the aid of staff from the Brixham Environmental Laboratory. The water velocities in the bay were measured to try to discover the expected circulation.

Blackpool Sands is located in Start Bay, near Dartmouth, Devon.

Blackpool Sands

Velocities were measured using an Accoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) mounted on a rigid inflatable boat (RIB).

RIB in the bay RIB in the bay

An ADCP is used to find the water velocity throughout the water column. It emits an accoustic pulse called a ping. Particles in suspension scatter the energy and reflect some of it back to the ADCP. This return signal exhibits the Doppler effect which is used to calculate the water velocity. The ADCP used here was an RD Instruments Sentinel Workhorse.

ADCP in action ADCP transducers

The expected circulation was measured in the bay! This plot shows the RIB's path in the bay and the measured velocity vectors:

RIB path
with velocity vectors

Using a program called Surfer, the data was interpolated onto a grid. The coastline has also been added to this plot:

 vectors and coastline


At the Brixham Environmental Lab: Roy Lewis, Andrew Riddle, Jon Lewis and Mike Field;
Mr G. Newman of Stoke Fleming - owner of Blackpool Sands.

Last updated: 20th August 2002
F.C. Elwell

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