The management of fine sediments will be increasingly important. Large amounts of mobilised sediments will progressively be used for nature building projects. Existing literature extensively covers the building properties of traditional materials. Nevertheless, natural ones, because of their diverse properties, present a greater challenge.

This research project  focuses on new land formation from soft soil at Markermeer Lake (The Netherlands) and gives insight in how this liquid material with low density is best utilised and converted into a stable and valuable foundation for wetlands. For this ambitious project, the following parameters are essential :
a. variability of material properties (e.g. relationships k-e and sigma’-e, heterogeneity).
b. the role of sediment composition and changes herein (in particular organic matter) under variable hydrochemical conditions (e.g. pH, redox state, salinity).
c. effects of biological evolution (e.g. plant roots, benthic algae, worms, benthivorous fish), both via chemical and physical pathways.

 The anoxic deeper layer (as it does literally form the foundation for wetland development) and the top layer that may be partially oxic/anoxic and partially saturated/unsaturated  are carefully studied. The interaction between both layers is the core of the research.

The outcome of the project will be the quantitative understanding of the dominant interactions between the physical, chemical and ecological processes that control consolidation of fresh mud deposits.



The research is conducted by María Barciela Rial. She has a bachelor degree in Civil Engineering and a master degree in Water Engineering. In July 2014 she started this project as a PhD- candidate. She is supervised by Han Winterwerp (Deltares, TU Delft) and Jasper Griffioen (TNO, University Utrecht). Thijs van Kessel (Deltares) is also an important adviser in this project.

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Contact details:

TU Delft / Environmental Fluid Mechanics Section

Waterlab Faculteit CiTG Stevinweg 1 Room S3.00.110 (Stevin III) NL-2628 CN DELFT The Netherlands Phone number (direct): +31 152788129