MegaPEX 2014 to Bring New Data on Sand Engine

MegaPEX 2014 to Bring New Data on Sand Engine

The MegaPEX 2014, a large measurement campaign to study the behavior of the Sand Engine peninsula, both on the beach and in the sea, has just started. The campaign will run till October 27.

The Sand Engine is a 128-acre artificial peninsula off the Dutch coast that has been created for an innovative way of beach nourishment.

Researchers Martijn Henriquez, Matthieu de Schipper and Sierd de Vries of the Hydraulic Engineering department at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, have invited international researchers from various disciplines to join them in gathering new data on the behavior of the Sand Engine.

Changing its shape

The Sand Engine is a pilot project that started in 2011 along the Dutch coast. A huge volume of sand has been applied, creating an artificial peninsula. Wind, waves and currents are now spreading the sand naturally along the coast.

Gradually the Sand Engine changes in shape and eventually it will be fully incorporated into the dunes and the beach. The coast will be broader and safer.

Measuring and mapping the change

The scientists are keen on following precisely how the Sand Engine develops. To do this, a project was started in which government, industry and research institutes cooperate. To ascertain whether the Sand Engine works as expected, its development is measured and mapped in different ways.

The research focuses on flow, spreading of sand, flora and fauna, swimming safety, dune development, groundwater and recreational use.

The data is continuously collected in various ways, amongst which by a radar installation, by depth and height with jet skis, through observations and assessments on the spot and with the Argus Mast.


The MegaPEX 2014 campaign gives international researchers the opportunity to collect data and samples as well as share their data. For six weeks, the default measurement methodology ‘on land, at sea and in the air’ present will be expanded with extra equipment and scientists.

Examples are the unmanned helicopter (drone) which is used to measure the waves and currents and a comprehensive measurement set to count grains of sand bouncing under the influence of the wind.

In total, more than 20 different measurement setups will be realized to capture the behavior of the Sand Engine on a large scale and in detail.

The aim is to obtain insight into the feedback between coastal processes related to hydrodynamics, morphology, aeolian transport, dune formation, hydrology and ecology.


Source: tudelft, September 16, 2014