The Laboratory of Hydraulic Constructions (LCH) of the EcolePolytechniqueFédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) maintains a permanent synergy between teaching, research and services. Hydraulic engineering of civil structures and systems constitutes the main field of activity of the LCH.

TEACHING includes university level courses at graduate and master lev¬els, taking into account environmental and socio-economical aspects. Master of advanced studies (MAS) in hydraulic engineering have been also offered from 1999 to 2009. The following courses are given on bachelor and master level: Hydraulic structures and schemes I + II, Urban hydraulic systems; Dams and appurtenant structures; Hydraulic and energy networks; Fluvial hydraulics and flood protection measures; Organization, economy and construction laws I + II; River eco-morphology; Environment and Civil Engineering. Semester projects and master thesis are offered in as practical engineering or research projects often in collaboration with engineering companies or foreign research institutions.

SERVICES such as consulting and commissioned studies are offered to the public and private sectors in the field of applied hydraulics, transferring LCH know-how, acquired through research projects.The modern experimental hall in LCH enables a vast range of scale model studies. The competence of LCH in the field of physical and numerical modelling covers in particular: hydraulic structures such as water intakes, spillways, bottom outlets, stilling basins, surge tanks, pressure tunnels and shafts; flow and sediment transport in torrents and rivers, debris flow, reservoir sedimentation, flood events; drinking and waste water systems, reservoirs, vortex shafts, junctions, storm water weirs, culverts; loading of lake bank protection works (harbors, bank protection) by waves, behavior of wave breakers ; optimization of the design and operation of complex hydro power plants and flood protection systems.

RESEARCH carried out at the LCH concentrates on the interactions of hydraulic structures and schemes with their environment, in particular with water, air and underground. It focuses essentially on topics corresponding to present and future concerns of the civil engineering profession. The main research areas are:

  • Overland flow on macro roughness, precipitation - runoff models, formation and management of floods, forecasting of floods in catchments area influenced by reservoirs
  • Determination of design floods and security of hydraulic schemes (dams and hydro power plants)
  • Erosion of alpine watersheds by rain and surface flow, sediment transport mechanisms and silting-up of reservoirs (simulation of processes and development of measures to handle density and turbidity currents)
  • Numerical modeling of surface flows (two phase and unsteady flows)
  • Sediments transport in rivers
  • Influence of macro roughness of river protection works on scouring in river bends, influence of a side weir on sediment transport in a channel
  • Erosion of fissured media due to high velocity jets; propagation of dynamic pressures within fissures and rock joints, scour downstream of dams, influence of plunge pool geometry
  • High velocity flow over macro roughness, overflow dams and fuse plugs
  • Influence of the macro roughness of river banks on the traveling velocity of waves in channels due to hydropower peaking operation
  • Lake shore protection measures, interaction of structures with waves and sediment transport, behavior and design of floating oil retaining reservoir against oil spills
  • Design and analysis of appurtenant structures of hydropower plants and dams
  • Design of high pressure tunnels and shafts by taking into account of hydraulic-mechanical interactions (influence of stresses on permeability), drainage of steel linings by valves to prevent buckling

The studies involve both numerical and physical modelling. For a detailed description of the ongoing research projects, see Activity Report Chapter 1.1 (

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1 FRANCA Mario, Dr. MORE
 Department of Civil Engineering
2 SCHLEISS Anton J., Professor Dr. MORE
 Department of Civil Engineering


Researcher Type Supervisor