Designed to simulate the Mississippi River’s depth, sediment, and flow, the Lower Mississippi River Physical Model is used by researchers, scientists, and engineers to improve our understanding of the lowermost Mississippi River and to study how it responds to modification.
The expanded small scale physical model is constructed from 216 foam panels measuring 5 ft. x 10 ft. long. This model lives in the LSU Center for River Studies where it enables researchers to study sediment diversion projects used to divert river water and sediment to replenish and help sustain the vanishing coastal wetlands in the region.
The Lower Mississippi River Physical Model encompasses the area bounded by the Terrebonne Ridge on the west, approximately RM 175, the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain on the north, to the Chandeleur Islands on the east, and to the 250 foot contour line in the Gulf of Mexico. The mobile bed model is a distorted scale of 1:6,000 in the horizontal direction and 1:400 in the vertical direction.
The model is nearly as large as an Olympic-size swimming pool and was constructed with a toleramce of 1mm.
The model is machined from foam blocks that are then assembled on the model support platform. Innovative construction techniques and high precision measurement techniques were developed for the model construction.
The time lapse video shows how the model was constructed. The model serves as both a scientific test bed and as an exhibit.
- Louisiana researchers tackle a changing Mississippi Delta (NPR with video)
- LSU Center for River Studies (CPRA)