An efficient, self-orienting, vertical-array, sand trap

Michael Hilton*, Bill Nickling, Sarah Wakes, Douglas Sherman, Teresa Konlechner, Mark Jermy, Patrick Geoghegan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There remains a need for an efficient, low-cost, portable, passive sand trap, which can provide estimates of vertical sand flux over topography and within vegetation and which self-orients into the wind. We present a design for a stacked vertical trap that has been modelled (computational fluid dynamics, CFD) and evaluated in the field and in the wind tunnel. The ‘swinging’ trap orients to within 10° of the flow in the wind tunnel at 8 m s−1, and more rapidly in the field, where natural variability in wind direction accelerates orientation. The CFD analysis indicates flow is steered into the trap during incident wind flow. The trap has a low profile and there is only a small decrease in mass flow rate for multiple traps, poles and rows of poles. The efficiency of the trap was evaluated against an isokinetic sampler and found to be greater than 95%. The centre pole is a key element of the design, minimally decreasing trap efficiency. Finally, field comparisons with the trap of Sherman et al. (2014) yielded comparable estimates of vertical sand flux. The trap described in this paper provides accurate estimates of sand transport in a wide range of field conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalAeolian Research
Early online date10 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Passive vertical sand trap
  • Self-orienting


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