Colorado State University
Performance Testing

Overtopping Performance Testing

To download the Overtopping Performance Testing brochere, click HERE!

Colorado State University (CSU) has four Overtopping Facilities which are part of a unique research center designed for hydraulic model studies, testing and calibration in the fields of open channel and closed conduit hydraulics.

The overtopping facilities at the Engineering Research Center provide a wide range of sizes and capacities to meet any project need (Table 1). Two of the overtopping facilities, the 10-ft and the 6-ft mild, are located outdoors; while the 6-ft steep and 4-ft are located indoors.

Outdoor facilities are supplied with water from Horsetooth Reservoir by a 36-inch diameter pipeline. Average static head to the system throughout the year is approximately 200 feet. Reservoir water quality has a very low turbidity and a water temperature ranging from 40 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Indoor facilities are supplied by individual pumps in conjunction with a one acre-ft sump located beneath the laboratory floor. The ability to test year around is the inherent benefit of indoor facilities.

Common overtopping studies performed at the Hydraulics Laboratory include:

  •   Embankment Erosion Protection
         - Articulated Concrete Blocks (ACB)
         - Synthetic Groundcover
         - Vegetative Systems
         - Pour-in-place Systems
         - Riprap and Culvert Protection
         - Rolled Erosion Control Products
  •   Spillway Examination
  •   Performance under Hydraulic Jump Conditions
  •   Dam Foundation Erosion
  •   Energy Dissipation Techniques

Table 1: ERC Overtopping Facilities

Facility
4-ft 6-ft Mild 6-ft Steep 10-ft
Width (ft) Up to 4.0 Up to 6.3 Up to 6.0 Up to 10
Length (ft) 30 75 40 120
Slope (%) Up to 50% 13% Up to 22% 50%
Maximum Discharge (cfs) 22 160 55 170
Overtopping Depth (ft) Up to 2 Up to 6 Up to 3 Up to 6
Embankment Height (ft) Up to 15 Up to 9 Up to 8 Up to 60

*Not all combinations of configurations are possible.



Erosion Control Performance Testing

To download the Erosion Control Performance Testing brochure, click HERE!

Colorado State University has pioneered the use of Planter Box Technology. Using mobile boxes to house vegetated plots allows multiple plots to be grown and tested in a single season. Planter Box Technology reduces the cost and time associated with testing vegetated reinforcement systems.

For over 50 years, CSU has been a leader in the erosion control industry. Our professional staff has over 100 years combined experience in erosion control research including performance testing of vegetated and unvegetated erosion control products under channelized, overtopping, and pipe outlet conditions. CSU partners with a multitude of agencies and private companies to facilitate applied erosion control technology.

Erosion control performance testing continues to be an area of industry interest. With the development of many new testing protocols and an abundance of new products, performance testing has become a vital component of product development. CSU is meeting the industry’s need for performance testing with expert staff, and state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.


Our laboratory uses cutting edge data collection instruments to provide a variety of high quality data. The specialized instruments available include a multitude of velocity instruments that measure mean and instantaneous velocities in 1-D, 2-D, or 3-D. In addition, our laboratory has an ultrasonic ranging system that provides real time scour monitoring and mapping, and a high frequency laser scanning system which allows full pre-test and post-test topographic surveys.




Hydraulics Laboratory Erosion Control Facilities

Colorado State University has a variety of erosion control facilities which are part of a unique research center designed for hydraulic model studies, testing and calibration in the fields of open channel and closed conduit hydraulics.


Common erosion control studies performed at the Engineering Research Center include:

  •   Unvegetated Erosion Control Products
  •   Vegetated Erosion Control Products
  •   Overtopping Conditions
  •   Pipe Outlet Scour Testing
  •   Local Scour Phenomena

Currently, there are 12 erosion control facilities utilized at the Engineering Research Center Hydraulics Laboratory. Table 1 summarizes the dimensions and capacities of the available erosion control facilities.

Table 1: ERC Erosion Control Facilities

Facility Name Maximum Discharge (cfs) Maximum Slope (%) Flume Dimensions (ft)
2-foot 11 8 2 x 60
4-foot 22 3 4 x 60
4-foot Steep 22 50 4 x 30
6-foot 55 22 6 x 40
8-foot 100 2 8 x 200
10-foot 170 50 10 x 120
S. East Tarbela 200 Fixed - 13 6 or 4 x 60
S. Center Tarbela 200 Fixed - 13 6 x 60
Tarbela 200 Fixed - 0 20 x 110
Floor Models (3) Variable Variable Variable