Applications for
Science and Teaching

Emriver Models in Engineering Education

Emriver models are especially suited to teaching river dynamic principles in water resources and civil engineering, and for demonstrating principles of fluid mechanics. The stream tables and hydraulic flume are easily set up in a classroom or lab for hands-on demonstrations and interaction in a simulated experience for better understanding of engineering principles. Professors and their universities will find the models an ideal recruitment tool to attract students to a department or lab.

Classes where the Em2, Em3, Em4 and Emflume1 are especially useful include civil engineering, water resources and engineering, and fluid mechanics and hydraulics.

Topics and Lessons


1. Our lab manual includes the following exercises: 

  • Vertical velocity distribution and depth average velocity in open channel flow
  • Investigation of Chezy’s and Manning’s coefficients for uniform open channel flow
  • Investigation of Continuity and Bernoulli’s equations in rectangular open channel flow
  • Calibration of broad and sharp-crested rectangular weirs
  • Hydraulic jump in horizontal rectangular channels
  • Application of Specific Energy
  • Flow through small orifice
  • Step-pool ramps
  • Effects of bed material, bed forms, and vegetation on flow

Em2, Em3, or Em4

1. Interaction with hydraulic structures 


  • How upstream and downstream slopes affect the stability of the dam
  • How seepage occurs and its effect on dam stability
  • Effect of reservoir water level on dam stability


  • How side slopes affect the stability of levees
  • Effect of levee spacing on flow and levee stability
  • Effect of flow depth on levee stability


  • Effect of culvert on flow and channel erosion
  • Effects of culvert size on flow and channel erosion
  • Effect of deposition on culvert capacity


  • Effects on flow and erosion

2. Measuring basic characteristics of flow through media

  • Seepage velocity of dry media and saturated media

3. Our Emriver lab manual includes the following exercises:

  • Slope variables and equations
  • Measuring flow and discharge
  • Groundwater behavior
  • Stream surveying; cross sections and long profiles
  • Hydrographs; make your own or use the pre-programmed flood events and hydrographs using the Alix digital flow controller
  • Channelization, bank armoring

4. Rivers and Roads Program

The Vermont Agencies of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Transportation, developed the Rivers and Roads Program using the Emriver Em2 geomodel to explain how rivers work and how to design, construct, and maintain roads and bridges to create greater river stability and more flood-resilient transportation infrastructure.


Experimental Study on Shoreline Erosion Using the Em2 Geomodel


Little River Research & Design and the Missouri Department of Conservation made a series of videos using the Emriver models to help students better understand geomorphic processes in rivers. Examples of the videos include headcuts, tributary incision, meandering, wetland draining, bank failure, mining, effects of dams and weirs. Our YouTube channel includes a playlist of all these River Geomorphology videos. Each video in the playlist includes a description, but you can also download a teaching guide.
(Many of the videos are also available online, hosted by Carleton College. A DVD with all videos is included with a model purchase. Or you can purchase the entire series on DVD from Little River.)

Emriver models Illustrate complex concepts in a clear, tangible way.