Environmental Hydraulics Laboratory LHE

LHE website

Welcome on the LHE website.

Hydraulics and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Group

Le Laboratoire d'Hydraulique Environnementale (LHE, environmental hydraulics laboratory) is a laboratory of the Civil Engineering Institute (IIC) of the school of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC)


The Environmental Hydraulics Laboratory (Laboratoire d'Hydraulique Environnementale, LHE) is a laboratory within the Civil Engineering Institute of the School of Natural, Architectural and Constructed Environmental Sciences (Faculté Environnement Naturel, Architectural et Construit) (ENAC).

Scientific activities and applications

The LHE is a laboratory of environmental fluid mechanics whose research strives toward a better understanding of hydraulic processes in the environment, with particular emphasis on the problems encountered in the Alps. The laboratory also investigates how scientific knowledge is incorporated into land-use planning policies. The field of research covered within the LHE includes the following topics:

in memoriam Prof. Walter H. Graf died in Lausanne on June 27 2017, in his eighty-first year. Walter H. Graf led the hydraulic research laboratory (now called LHE) from 1973 to 2001, succeeding Alfred Stucky (1928-1958) and Daniel Bonnard (1958-1973), two professors essential to Swiss civil engineering and illustrious entrepreneurs of the Leman area. In this respect, Mr. Graf was one of the first foreign faculty members recruited to bring research to the new EPFL campus. His work covered many fields, including free surface hydraulics, turbidity currents, sediment transport, hydrodynamics of lakes (with Ulrich Lemmin). After his thesis under the supervision of Hans Albert Einstein (Albert’s son) in Berkeley, he pioneered the study of the part played turbulence in sediment transport. He authored several books including several civil engineering textbooks with Mustafa Altinakar. His book "River Hydraulics" was translated and published by Wiley, and became a bible for many Swiss and foreign students. Professor Graf was awarded numerous honors. He was quite active after his retirement in 2001: he taught in China, India, and in France while remaining very close to EPFL.

LHE in pictures

  • Cellule de cisaillement avec mesure par PTV.

    Particle segregation

    Experimental investigation of particle segregation in granular flows, a collaboration with the University of Manchester (prof. J.M.N.T. Gray).

  • Vague d'impulsion Grindelwald 2009 (Tages Anzeiger).

    Impulse wave

    Experimental and numerical investigation of impulse waves generated by snow avalanches (a collaboration with prof. M. Brocchini, university of Ancona).

  • Mesure du profil de vitesse par PIV-laser.

    Dam break problem

    PIV experiments to measure velocity profiles within granular suspension flows.

  • Expériences  de transport solide

    Particle flow

    Sediment transport experiments.

  • Etude du transport solide

    Torrential hydraulics

    Field investigation of bedload transport in the Navisence river (Val d Anniviers, VS) with CREALP and the university of Jaén (prof. P. Bohorquez).

  • Mesures rhéométriques

    Suspension rheology

    Couette cell and rheometric investigations of granular suspensions.

  • Canal de simulation d'avalanche de fluides.

    Viscoplastic flow

    Avalanche of a viscoplastic gel on a sloping bed

  • La Sionne

    Powder snow avalanches

    Dynamics of powder snow avalanches (Vallée de la Sionne, VS) with SLF (Dr B. Sovilla) and the University of Durham (prof. J. McElwaine).

  • Avalanche de Montroc février 1999.

    Scientific models and natural hazard mitigation

    Can we predict catastrophes? How can scientific expertise assist decision-makers in land use planning?

In memoriam

in memoriamOn 28 Jan 2012, Gaël Epely-Chauvin , PhD student in our laboratory, passed away in a diving accident just after he started exploring the "sources de la Chaudanne" (FR). Gaël was a shooting star, who lit up our lifes when passing overhead. .

LHE News

Field of expertise of LHE

  • Geophysical fluid mechanics
  • Snow avalanches
  • Torrential hydraulics
  • Risk management (in mountain areas)
  • Rheology of suspensions
  • Particulate flows


Laboratoire d'Hydraulique Environnementale (LHE)

Station 18
CH-1015 Lausanne
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Tél: +41 (0) 21 693 23 75
Fax: +41 (0) 21 693 67 67