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A microelectromechanical system-based load cell is integrated with signal conditioning circuitry, temperature, and tilt sensors for measurement of sediment-fluid interaction and flow under turbulent conditions. Such an instrument has potential value for quantifying geophysical flows and sediment dynamics within a range of environments. Sensor sensitivity is tested to a mass of 0.5 g but can be shown theoretically to extend to 50 mg. The sensor is found to have no attenuation of frequencies up to 2.5 Hz and would therefore be suitable for monitoring turbulent flow. Laboratory flume experiments, simulating a dam burst, demonstrate the applicability of the sensor for measuring highly dynamic and transient flow phenomena in unprecedented detail.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2013