Physical models

We believe that the best way to learn about how water behaves in rivers and at the coast is by seeing it in front of you.  That’s why we’ve created physical models to demonstrate the key principles of flood and coastal risk management.

If you think the models could be useful for your work with students, professional groups or communities then please contact us to discuss how we could support you.

We’ve also developed a range of freely available learning resources that can be used alongside these models to support education activities for all ages in the classroom and the community.

Augmented Reality (AR) Sandbox

AR Sandbox at MancSciFest2017

An interactive visualisation tool that shows how topography affects water moving through a catchment.

Wave tank

Wave tank squre splash

A portable wave tank that demonstrates the performance of coastal defences under different wave conditions.

'Mini' demonstration flume


The ‘mini’ flume demonstrates the interaction of engineered structures with flow in a channel but is more portable than the trailer flume and can be set up inside, for example in a classroom or office.

Projection Augmented Relief Model

PARM at EA sqaure

The Projection Augmented Relief Model (PARM) is a 3D printed scale model, based on LIDAR data, with a projector that overlays information on to the model.

Sectional hydraulic flume

Our newest flume is built in sections which can be clipped together in different combinations.  It is specifically designed to demonstrate culvert and trash screen hydraulic behaviour.

Water safety demonstration flume

We have developed a water safety demonstration flume in partnership with North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Hydrotec Consultants Limited.

Demonstration flume
(free standing)

JBA stunt duck

A large hydraulic flume showing the flow of water in a simple channel and featuring scale models of typical engineered structures including weirs, bridges, culverts, screens, fish pass and a hydrobrake.

Demonstration flume
(trailer mounted)

Flume demo Isle of Man

Our first mobile demonstration model showing the flow of water in a simple channel and how typical engineered structures interact with the flow and affect flood risk.

Flow meter

Our Valeport ‘Braystoke’ Model 001 flow meter is used to measure water velocity in a variety of open channel environments. It is ideal for field study use and hydrometric work.

Borrowing our models

More information about borrowing our interactive models, including locations, training requirements and terms and conditions, is available here.

Explore where and how others are using physical models

We are developing online resources to support a ‘Community of Practice’ for people who use physical models of water to support education and engagement.  The maps show where and how interactive models are being used across the globe and are designed to help the community share ideas, knowledge and inspiration to support education and outreach activities.