University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Assessing the Viability of Complex Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) with a Spatially Distributed Sensor Array for Imaging of River Bed Morphology: a Proof of Concept (Study)

Maddock, Ian ORCID:, Visser, Fleur ORCID:, Hill, Graham, Holliday, R. and Wynn, D. (2007) Assessing the Viability of Complex Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) with a Spatially Distributed Sensor Array for Imaging of River Bed Morphology: a Proof of Concept (Study). Project Report. University of Worcester. (Unpublished)


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This report was produced as part of a NERC funded ‘Connect A’ project to establish a new collaborative partnership between the University of Worcester (UW) and Q-par Angus Ltd. The project aim was to assess the potential of using complex Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) to image river bed morphology. An assessment of the viability of sensors inserted vertically into the channel margins to provide real-time or near real-time monitoring of bed morphology is reported. Funding has enabled UW to carry out a literature review of the use of EIT and existing methods used for river bed surveys, and outline the requirements of potential end-users. Q-par Angus has led technical developments and assessed the viability of EIT for this purpose.

EIT is one of a suite of tomographic imaging techniques and has already been used as an imaging tool for medical analysis, industrial processing and geophysical site survey work. The method uses electrodes placed on the margins or boundary of the entity being imaged, and a current is applied to some and measured on the remaining ones. Tomographic reconstruction uses algorithms to estimate the distribution of conductivity within the object and produce an image of this distribution from impedance measurements.

The advantages of the use of EIT lie with the inherent simplicity, low cost and portability of the hardware, the high speed of data acquisition for real-time or near real-time monitoring, robust sensors, and the object being monitored is done so in a non-invasive manner. The need for sophisticated image reconstruction algorithms, and providing images with adequate spatial resolution are key challenges.

A literature review of the use of EIT suggests that to date, despite its many other applications, to the best of our knowledge only one study has utilised EIT for river survey work (Sambuelli et al 2002). The Sambuelli (2002) study supported the notion that EIT may provide an innovative way of describing river bed morphology in a cost effective way. However this study used an invasive sensor array, and therefore the potential for using EIT in a non-invasive way in a river environment is still to be tested.

A review of existing methods to monitor river bed morphology indicates that a plethora of techniques have been applied by a range of disciplines including fluvial geomorphology, ecology and engineering. However, none provide non-invasive, low costs assessments in real-time or near real-time. Therefore, EIT has the potential to meet the requirements of end users that no existing technique can accomplish.

Work led by Q-par Angus Ltd. has assessed the technical requirements of the proposed approach, including probe design and deployment, sensor array parameters, data acquisition, image reconstruction and test procedure. Consequently, the success of this collaboration, literature review, identification of the proposed approach and potential applications of this technique have encouraged the authors to seek further funding to test, develop and market this approach through the development of a new environmental sensor.

Item Type: Report (Project Report)
Additional Information:

Project Code NE/E522559/1

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: tomography, imaging, river bed morphology, Elecrical Impedance Tomography, SERG, SERG
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
Depositing User: Ian Maddock
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2007 15:14
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2021 04:00

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