Former Alden Engineer Earns Masters with Help of Mid-Barataria Model

Denton Graham, a former Alden engineer, successfully defended his Master of Science thesis research, earning a degree in Coastal & Ecological Engineering from Louisiana State University. Denton's thesis, "Stream Power Analysis of the Mid-Barataria Conveyance Channel Model," relied on data produced by physical model studies conducted at Alden.

Denton joined Alden in April 2018 where he worked on the design and construction of several hydraulic models, including the Mid-Barataria sediment diversion models. Using the 1:65 scale conveyance channel model, Denton was able to test sediment transport and stream power characteristics using a number of different flow rates and sand concentrations. The objective of his thesis was to study how flow and sediment concentration variations can affect the stream power and friction in the conveyance channel model.

These large, live bed sediment transport models are helping to optimize and inform the design and construction of the proposed sediment diversion structures that are part of the land rebuilding efforts of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana (CPRA). 

The fit with Alden and the Mid-Barataria modeling effort was a match both professionally and personally for Denton. Denton became friends with several members of the Alden team during the construction of the Lower Mississippi River Physical Model at the LSU Center for River Studies.

In addition, he says, "I grew up hunting and fishing in the wetlands of Louisiana, so I know firsthand what has happened there," referring to the land being lost due to a combination of subsidence and sea level rise in Coastal Louisiana. 

Making Massachusetts his home for nearly 18 months required a little intestinal fortitude from the Louisiana native. Denton admitted he was not prepared for New England winters. He says, "I learned quickly how to dress in layers. And while I miss working with my friends and colleagues at the lab, I do not miss the snow."

Denton is grateful for his time spent working at Alden, and he hopes to visit the lab again soon. Just not during the winter. 

Denton's thesis "Stream Power Analysis of the Mid-Barataria Conveyance Channel Model" is available via the LSU Digital Commons

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