Many streams and rivers for which the US Geological Survey must provide discharge measurements are too shallow to apply existing acoustic Doppler current profiler techniques for flow measurements of satisfactory quality. Because the same transducer is used for both transmitting and receiving acoustic signals in most Doppler current profilers, some small time delay is required for acoustic "ringing" to be damped out of transducers before meaningful measurements can be made. The result of that time delay is that velocity measurements cannot be made close to the transducer thus limiting the usefulness of these instruments in shallow regions. Manufacturers and users are constantly striving for improvements to acoustic instruments which would permit useful discharge measurements in shallow rivers and streams that are still often measured with techniques and instruments more than a century old. One promising area of advance appeared to be reduction of time delay (blank) required between transmitting and receiving signals during acoustic velocity measurements. Development of a low- or zero-blank transducer by RD Instruments3 held promise that velocity measurements could be made much closer to the transducer and thus in much shallower water. Initial experience indicates that this is not the case; limitation of measurement quality appears to be related to the physical presence of the transducer itself within the flow field. The limitation may be the result of changes to water flow pattern close to the transducer rather than transducer ringing characteristics as a function of blanking distance. Results of field experiments are discussed that support this conclusion and some minimum measurement distances from transducer are suggested based on water current speed and ADCP sample modes.
Additional publication details
A Preliminary Evaluation of Near-Transducer Velocities Collected with Low-Blank Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler
Larger Work Title:
Hydraulic Measurements and Experimental Methods
Hydraulic Measurements and Experimental Methods 2002