Hydraulic Modeling/Research

Floodplain Analysis / River Hydraulics: Floodplain hydraulics is one of the primary areas of specialization of PACE’s stormwater engineers. Our team applies sophisticated hydraulic models to analyze the physical process of natural alluvial and urbanized floodplains.  The team has a tremendous working knowledge of the HEC models including HEC-2, HEC-RAS, and GEO-RAS that are routinely utilized in floodplain analysis, while also using MIKE-21, RMA, SMS, and FLO-2D.  In addition, some of the staff has taught university level courses on Computer Assisted Floodplain Modeling, which ensures a good solid technical background in floodplain analysis. The background in floodplain analysis includes (1) correct interpretation of model results, (2) correctly determining the characteristics of the floodplain which includes cross section location, orientation, roughness values, bridge modeling, culvert modeling, use of ineffective flow areas, and floodway modeling.

Overflow / Urban Floodplain Hydraulics: PACE has routinely been involved in uniquely specialized floodplain hydraulic analyses including alluvial fan flooding, urbanized flooding, and overflow floodplains applying 2-D hydraulic analysis.  PACE routinely applies FLO-2D for the analysis of complicated floodplain hydraulics to develop a better understanding of the hydraulic characteristics from the one-dimensional model. We have successfully applied FLO-2D for numerous flow split evaluations and urbanized floodplains, including having customized applications and capabilities developed for the software.

Arid System Hydraulics: We have a strong technical background and significant practical experience in the analysis and understanding of arid/desert watershed systems hydraulics, including unique characteristics of alluvial fan hydraulics and their operations.  Dynamic nature of ephemeral desert streams and rivers offer unique challenges for floodplain management and specialized treatment in the analysis utilizing variety of different empirical tools.

Physical Hydraulic Modeling: PACE performs physical hydraulic model studies to increase confidence in design, as well as to diagnose and solve problems with existing hydraulic structures and equipment. Testing of a scale model can eliminate design uncertainties arising from site-specific conditions, untried arrangements, structures of unprecedented magnitude, and complicated natural flow conditions. Such studies can help project owners and designers easily recoup their investment, protecting them from the risk of costly repairs or inefficient operation. Model studies at PACE have included weir structures, scour studies, drop structures, culverts, and coastal hydraulics. Although our ability to model hydraulic performance analytically and computationally is constantly improving, physical models are still an extremely valuable tool. Physical models are often the most feasible and most economical way to incorporate three-dimensional complexity. Physical models can also include the effects of physical processes that may not be understood well enough to be accurately incorporated into computer simulations.  Models provide designers with an opportunity to test and verify prototype performance in a relatively low-cost and easily modified model. Models also allow project stakeholders to become more involved in the design process, as they see firsthand the effects of design modifications.