LISST-ABS: A Low-Cost Submersible Acoustic Sediment Sensor

Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Wayne H Slade, Yogesh C Agrawal, David R Dana, Thomas Leeuw and Chuck Pottsmith, Sequoia Scientific, Inc., Bellevue, WA, United States
The development of low-cost optical sensors (i.e., transmissometers and optical backscattering sensors, OBS) produced the last significant advance in in-situ monitoring of suspended sediment concentration. However, it was well-known from fundamental physics of light scattering and laboratory work, that their response suffered from a severe non-uniformity to grain-size (varying as 1/diameter), susceptibility to biofouling, and limited dynamic range. Here we present the development of a new, low cost, single-point, 8 MHz acoustic backscatter sensor, LISST-ABS that improves on all these shortcomings. For example, the response is nearly flat over 30-400 micron diameters varying within ±30% of the mean (compared with roughly ±400% for OBS over the same size range), fouling is less serious, and the dynamic range spans 5 decades without change of electronic gain. A key innovation of the LISST-ABS is the use of backscatter signal from two range cells in order to measure and compensate for sediment attenuation, allowing a working concentration range exceeding 1 mg/L to 70 g/L (for 7 micron particles).