The BAW conducts extensive field measurements on inland waterways and coastal seaways. These form an indispensable element of hydraulic system analyses and are used to:
- evaluate and ensure the predictive power of the mathematical procedures used by the BAW,
- to deepen the understanding of the physical processes taking place in the body of water and thereby to optimise and further develop methods and computational approaches,
- to examine complex ship/waterway interactions, both in terms of ship dynamics and impacts on hydraulic structures and banks..
Many of the issues addressed by the BAW concern the future (projected) impact of hydraulic engineering measures. Predictions of the future impact of work undertaken cannot be made on the basis of field measurements. For this purpose the BAW uses powerful mathematical methods. The results of field measurements are, however, indispensable for describing the current status of and understanding the physical processes occurring in a body of water. They are therefore used directly in the ongoing development and optimisation of mathematical methods. The results of studies undertaken using mathematical methods are only accepted for professional and legal planning purposes if they are validated and backed up by verifiable field measurements.
In many cases, field measurements provide independent input into professional valuations of hydraulic engineering issues and in the context of research activities. There are still very large gaps in our knowledge when it comes to recording and describing morphological processes and the dynamics of suspended particles in flowing water, for example. This is where field measurements undertaken as part of R&D projects can make an important contribution to understanding cause-effect relationships. In collaboration with universities and research institutions, for example, the BAW is studying the interaction between waterway beds and water bodies, the behaviour of suspended particles in water columns and the dynamics of bed forms.
EAnother area on which studies focus is the complex interactions between ships and waterways. Measurements of the navigational dynamics of ships provide important input data for the dimensioning of fairways and for ship handling simulations. Hydraulic actions on banks and structures, e.g. as a result of ship waves, propulsion, current and sea conditions, are determined by taking field measurements on waterways. Findings are integrated in the design of hydraulic structures and in strategies for the maintenance of waterways..