Module code: ENG2101

Module Overview

The safety and sustainability of environmental systems, as well as of man-made structures in the environment, are controlled by a large number of interacting factors. Air and water exert particular stresses on these systems, and so it is important to understand the principles that govern the interaction between elements in order to be able to maintain the integrity of these systems. This module will introduce these principles under three headings.


This topic deals with free surface (or open channel) flows such as those occurring in rivers, canals, lakes estuaries and seas. It also covers flows in man-made structures of different designs such as reservoirs, dams and weirs. Structural integrity of these structures and flooding are 2 key issues, hence it is important to understand the flow mechanisms associated with these free surface flows. The lectures provide a comprehensive overview of the flow characteristics in open channels, the necessary skills to calculate channel profiles and familiarisation with some important hydraulic structures.  These principles will be reinforced by practical applications in the laboratory.


The main purpose of water treatment is to protect human health and prevent environmental degradation: this topic will begin by reinforcing this principle. Subsequent lectures will cover the basic concepts in biology, microbiology and chemistry that are necessary to understand the processes that take place during drinking-water and wastewater treatment. The topic will be concluded with a discussion of the natural processes that lead to the removal and dispersal of contaminants in surface and groundwater systems and the methods that are available for monitoring their presence in water.

Module provider

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Module Leader

HUGHES Susan (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 95

Lecture Hours: 29

Tutorial Hours: 20

Laboratory Hours: 6

Module Availability

Semester 2

Module content

Free Surface Hydraulics

  • Classification of flow types

  • Introduction to the concept of Head and Energy

  • Equations/theory relevant to steady, uniform and non-uniform flows

  • Critical conditions and flow transitions around critical conditions

  • Surface profiles for gradually varied flows

  • Introduction to hydraulic structures

  • Practical application of the theoretical principles in the laboratory, incorporating safe laboratory practice.

Water Quality Assessments

  • Historical developments in public and environmental health related to drinking-water and wastewater treatment.

  • Water pollution: sources and types of pollutants.

  • Introduction to microbiology, microbial growth characteritics, and microbial metabolism related to wastewater treatment.

  • Water quality assessment. Approaches to monitoring design and selection of analytical methods.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination EXAMINATION (2 HOURS) 60
Coursework COURSEWORK 20

Alternative Assessment

Alternative assessment for laboratory work will be  coursework. 

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

  • Explain of the theoretical and practical aspects of the different types of channel profiles, and the flow mechanisms and flow characteristics associated with free surface flows.

  • Demonstrate practical skills in two key principles of open channel flow (for example, wiers and hydraulic jump)

  • Explain the basic concepts in public health, microbiology and chemistry that are necessary to understand the processes that take place during water pollution, drinking-water and wastewater treatment.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Examination [Learning outcomes assessed:1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 (b,c,f,g,h)] (2 hours,60%)

  • Coursework  - Environmental Quality [Learning outcomes assessed: 5,6,7,8,9,10 (a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h)] (30 hours, 20%}

  • Free Surface Hydraulics: Laboratory work [Learning outcomes assessed:1,2,4 (b,c,d,e)) (15 hours, 10%); and coursework assignment [Learning outcomes assessed:1,2,3,4 (a,b,e,f,g,h)) (15 hours, 10%)

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessment will be through a range of self-assessment exercises provided on SurreyLearn.  Where appropriate these exercises will provide automatic feedback; otherwise feedback will be given in the tutorial sessions. Students will receive written feedback on the laboratory work.

Module aims

  • A knowledge of the different types of channel profiles and a comprehensive understanding of the flow mechanisms and flow characteristics associated with free surface flows
  • A knowledge of the different hydraulic structures encountered with open channel flows
  • Experience of laboratory work practicals associated with hydraulic jumps and weirs.
  • A systematic understanding and critical awareness of water chemistry and microbiology as they relate to the processes and products associated with drinking-water and wastewater treatment
  • An understanding of how these processes affect the sustainability and safety of environmental systems and structures

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Describe and classify the flow mechanisms associated with free surface flows KT
002 Apply the relevant equations to determine flow characteristics CPT
003 Design and calculate a channel profile for a given flow or geometry KCPT
004 Name and explain different types of hydraulic structures – weirs, energy dissipators, culverts. K
005 Describe the historical development of public and environmental health that is the foundation of drinking-water and wastewater treatment. KT
006 Recall basic microbiological and chemical principles and processes that are applicable to drinking-water and wastewater treatment. K
007 Describe the public and environmental health consequences of water pollution. KCT
008 Apply the knowledge gained to the safe and sustainable management of environmental systems and structures. KCPT
009 Oral and written communication PT
010 Synthesis of data KPT
011 Graphical presentation of data CPT
012 Use of word processer, spreadsheet, drawing/presentation PT
013 Technical writing PT
014 Information retrieval skills CPT
015 Independent learning skills CPT
016 Reviewing, assessing, and critical thinking skills CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

This module provides students with a basic theoretical and practical understanding of open channel flow, wind engineering and water quality assessment.

The module is delivered principally by lectures and tutorials, but also includes laboratory classes in open channel flow.

The learning and teaching methods include (hours are indicative):

  • 29 hours lectures

  • 20 hours examples classes

  • 6 hours labs

  • 95 hours independent learning  (guided reading, coursework assignment, independent reading, revision)

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENG2101

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Civil Engineering BEng (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MEng 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.