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Modelling geomorphic systems: scaled physical models

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posted on 19.05.2017 by Daniel Green
Physical models are scaled representations of a full-scale physical system which can be applied to inform our understanding of geomorphic process-form interactions. Physical and experimental modelling has been used extensively and has been proven to be of critical importance to the geomorphological user. Physical models can be loosely divided into a number of categories: 1:1 replica models; Froude-scaled models; distorted scale models; and analogue ‘similarity of process’ models. The choice of physical model type is dependent on the researcher’s aims and objectives. Advantages include the ability to: (i) isolate variables within a controlled laboratory setting; (ii) incorporate actual physical processes rather than simplifications; (iii) study infrequent or hypothetical scenarios, and; (iv) extract qualitative and quantitative data. Users of physical models must be cautious of the potential shortcomings of using a physical model, such as scale and laboratory effects. Despite these shortcomings, physical models provide a useful technique to observe, visualise and measure process-form interactions. This permits an improved understanding of complex physical relationships which other modelling methodologies may not be able to simulate.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Geomorphological Techniques (Online Edition)

Pages

1 - 17 (17)

Citation

GREEN, D., 2014. Modelling geomorphic systems: scaled physical models [Chapter 5, section 3]. IN: Cook, S.J., Clarke, L.E. & Nield, J.M. (eds.) Geomorphological Techniques (Online Edition). British Society for Geomorphology: London, UK.

Publisher

British Society for Geomorphology, London

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2014

Notes

This paper is closed access.

ISSN

2047-0371

Language

en

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