Bed Load Analyzer


Software to compute hydraulic and sedimentological values for irregularly shaped cross sections.

The Bed Load Analyzer is a module of the Sustainicum project. Sustainicum is a cooperation project between the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, the University of Graz and the Graz University of Technology and funded by the Federal Ministry of Science and Research. It aims to bring sustainability issues from the perspective of various disciplines in the university teaching. The main task is to build an open pool of content and materials to make concepts, processes and contexts relating to sustainability come alive.

Bed Load Analyzer is an Open Source project and free software. The tool is split into the modules Engineering and Education.
Module Engineering allows in a very easy and intuitive way the computation of hydraulic parameters like water surface elevation and flow velocity for irregularly shaped cross sections and the computation of sediment transport capacity in the channel applying different sediment transport formulas.
Module Education includes themes of water engineering in the form of texts, illustrations and calculation modules. The module Education is in progress. In future it should be a kind of information platform for students.

The tool is intended for teaching purposes but it can be used also for real world applications, e.g. to estimate the sediment transport in a cross section or to generate boundary conditions for hydraulic and sedimentological numerical models.


DThe software is programmed in Python 2.7.3. The graphical user interface is created within the framework of Qt 4.8.4 and the Python binding PyQt 4.9.5. For plotting the charts the Python plotting library Matplotlib 1.2.0 is used. The precompiled executables are built with PyInstaller 2.0.

The intention is, to develop and enhance the program's capabilites with students via bachelor and master projects. So, feedbacks and suggestions from users are welcome.

Main features

The software is available in the languages German and English.
Generally it is possible to save and open existing Bed Load Analyzer projects. The navigator allows the switching between different projects.

Features of the moduel Engineering for hydraulic computations:

  • Defintion of cross section geometry in the software or import geometry file from text file
  • Input of flow data for uniform flow (known friction slope) or non uniform flow (known water surface elevation)
  • Definition of boundary conditions for multiple load cases
  • Choice between different friction laws: Strickler, Manning, Chezy, Darcy-Weisbach
  • Input of three transversally variable roughness coefficients

Features of the module Engineering for sedimentological computations:

  • Calculation of sediment transport capacity and various sedimentological parameters in the channel
  • Choice between different sediment transport formulas (3 bed load formula and 2 total load formula)
  • Hints which sediment transport formula could be suitable
  • Calculation for one grain size or grain size distribution
  • Skin friction correction
  • Hiding-exposure effect
  • Calculation of interesting variables like Rouse number, sediment settling velocity, Shields parameter, ...

Analysis and visualisation of the results:

  • Representation of the results in tables
  • Graphical representation of the results: cross section, rating curve, grain size distribution, etc.
  • Export / Copy results tables and graphics
  • Printing of tabular results as protocol

New version (2.1)

In the bachelor thesis by Stefan Aichinger two sediment transport formulas for steep slopes have been implemented:

  • Smart & Jäggi
  • Rickenmann

The description of the implementation can be found in the bachelor thesis or in the reference manual (v2.1).

Terms of use

By downloading this software, you agree to the below-mentioned terms of use:

This program or module is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 2 of the License, or version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. This program or module and its documentation is provided for engineers, educational purposes, research and for non-profit consulting purposes and is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but without any warranty, without even the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall TU Graz be liable to any party for direct, indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, including lost profits, arising out of the use of this software and its documentation, even if TU Graz has been advised of the possibility of such damage. See the GNU General Public License for more details.


The current production version is Bed Load Analyzer 2.1. (Versions from 1.0 to 1.2 and the corresponding manuals are no longer available.)
It would be nice if the user mentions the Bed Load Analyzer software (citing the reference manual) when publishing results obtained with the Bed Load Analyzer software.

There is a precompiled binary for Windows available:
Bed Load Analyzer 2.1 (12/2014) for Windows

For Linux and Mac systems or if you want to modify the source code you can download and compile the source code.
Source code Bed Load Analyzer 2.1 (12/2014)


The documentation for Bed Load Analyzer consists of a Hydraulic Reference Manual which describes the data required and equations used and a fast tutorial which contains a short description of the Bed Load Analyzer and all steps to perform a calculation. The two documents are in PDF format and in German (for now) and can be downloaded:

Reference manual (03/2013)
Quick tutorial (03/2013)

Version 2.1
Bachelor's thesis Aichinger (12/2014)
User manual v2.1 (12/2014)