IIHR’s extensive state-of-the-art facilities and instrumentation at the University of Iowa support research and education in the hydrosciences, including a wide range of physical and numerical modeling and field data collection projects.

Laboratory & Large-Scale Models

Physical hydraulic modeling is a core strength at IIHR, perfected through decades of experience developing innovative designs and supporting applied hydraulic research. IIHR’s warehouse-sized laboratories provide space for the construction of large-scale models.

  • IIHR has constructed several large models, including a 50 x 33 x 1.4-meter replica of the Columbia River gorge including the Wanapum and Priest Rapids dams.
  • The James Street Laboratory provides 17,000 square feet for the construction of large hydraulic models.
  • Our team has extensive experience designing and constructing physical hydraulic models for clients including London, New York City, Washington, D.C., Abu Dhabi, and major hydroelectric public utilities.

Wave Basin & Towing Tank

Since 1948, IIHR has been a leading player in enhancing U.S. naval ship performance through front-line research in hydrodynamics. IIHR’s unique combination of resources, facilities, and top researchers has made the University of Iowa a worldwide leader in naval ship hydrodynamics.

  • State-of-the-art wave basin
  • Towing tank
  • CFDShip-Iowa and other computational coding capabilities

Flumes & Wind Tunnels

Flume design and construction is a historic strength at IIHR. We have designed and constructed a variety of wind tunnels and flumes in-house, including:

  • Wind-wave tunnel
  •  Closed-loop recirculating wind tunnel
  • Tilting flume (high-gradient sediment flume)
  • Kennedy flume (low-gradient sediment flume with integrated wind tunnel)
  • Two-foot flume (fixed-gradient flume with low turbulence characteristics)
  • Environmental flow facility (IIHR’s largest flume)
  • Towing tank flume

Watersheds & Rivers

Since it was established in 1920, IIHR has been involved in the study of rivers, streams, and watersheds. That work continues today; current examples include the Iowa Flood Center, working to make Iowa more flood resilient; the Iowa Watershed Approach, slowing the runoff that would otherwise cause floods by constructing farm ponds and other conservation practices; and IIHR’s focus on water quality. Related resources include:

  • Networks of sensors collecting stream-stage, water-quality, and other hydrologic data in near real time and relaying the data for display on the internet
  • Research vessels with instruments to measure river flow rates, velocities, depths, and water quality
  • Sediment sampling and coring with an onboard drilling rig
  • Large-scale particle image velocimetry (LSPIV)
  • Single-beam and multi-beam bathymetry
  • 2-D and 3-D computational hydrologic modeling

Research Computing

IIHR maintains a diverse set of computing resources and facilities in support of acquiring, processing, storing, presenting, and archiving the materials, data, codes, and publications for research. IIHR’s Research Computing Support (RCS) strives to provide an efficient, effective computational platform for research. These resources include:

  • High-performance computing
  • Support for physical and computational modeling
  • Large-scale data harvesting and processing systems related to flood sensing and modeling
  • Design and drafting software and expertise
  • A network of some 300 PCs
  • A carefully selected set of public domain, commercial, and proprietary software packages

Electrical & Mechanical Shops

IIHR maintains facilities and professional engineering staff to design, construct, calibrate, and care for precision equipment and systems for a broad range of model and field research. Customized instruments are available to measure a variety of fluid-flow parameters.

  • Laboratory models
  • Instrumentation
  • Experiments
  • 3-D computational grids

Facilities & Buildings

IIHR’s 10 facilities include large spaces to house physical models, several hydraulic flumes, many experimental instruments and sensors, mechanical and electrical shops, and other specialized resources.