Sequoia Scientific

Suspended Sediment Concentration and Particle-Sizing Methods Course

Seeking Clarity in Sediment Concentration and Sizing Methods?


Join Sequoia Scientific for a short course in sediment concentration and sizing methods and technologies.

Registration Deadline Extended to 21 November:

Course Title

Suspended Sediment Concentration and Particle-Sizing Methods in Support of Sediment Research, Monitoring, and Management


Eighth International Conference on Remediation and Management of Contaminated Sediments – January 12-15, 2015, New Orleans, Louisiana


Monday, January 12th, 2015, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm


To provide a survey of suspended particle (sediment) concentration, size distribution, and dynamics, describe and compare particle sizing technologies and methods, and examine case studies in sedimentology and environmental monitoring. Potential audience includes a wide range of environmental scientists, engineers, and regulators interested in learning more about the applications of sediment concentration and sizing methodologies in sedimentology and environmental management.


This short course provides a survey of suspended sediment concentration (SSC), particle (sediment) size, and particle size distribution (PSD), as well as modern and historical methods of analyzing SSC and PSD in sedimentology and environmental science & engineering. We start with the basic questions of “what is a particle?” and “what is size?”, examining the sometimes arbitrary and confusing aspects of these questions in the context of sediment shape, composition, and dynamics; following with an overview of PSD calculus, presentation, and interpretation of data. A variety of methods such as gravimetric analysis, sieving, settling column, optical and acoustic backscattering, and laser diffraction will be presented, as well as some biases, strengths and weaknesses, and inter-comparibility of each. We finish the short course with a presentation of case studies using SSC and PSD measurements in sediment research, monitoring, and management.

Draft Outline

  1. Basics of particles in the environment: Types of particles in natural samples: sediments, phyto- and other plankton, detritus, flocs and aggregates. What is a particle? What is does particle size really mean? Continuum from “dissolved” to “particulate” material. Calculus and models of particle size distribution. Presentation and interpretation of particle size distribution data.
  2. Particle shape, composition, and basics of particle dynamics: Shape, Corey Factor, effects on settling rate. Generalities of composition and packaging, trends with size, effects on optical and other sensing. Particle dynamics (erosion, aggregation, disaggregation, settling, and deposition).
  3. Methods of estimating suspended sediment concentration (SSC) and particle size distribution (PSD): Basics of optical and acoustic sensing, relating to size. SSC methods: filter pad protocols, turbidity/OBS, acoustic and optical scattering. PSD methods: sieves, settling column, X-ray diffraction, Coulter/electrozone, acoustic and optical scattering, laser diffraction, Focused Beam Reflectance Measurement (FBRM). Calibration of SSC and PSD methods.
  4. Comparing results from different sizing and concentration methods.
  5. Case studies using measurements of suspended sediment concentration and particle size distribution in sediment research, monitoring, and management.


Dr. Wayne Slade received his Ph.D. in Oceanography in 2011 specializing in ocean optics. His current research focuses on characterizing oceanic particles and their dynamics using optical methods, especially using multi-spectral, multi-angle, and polarized measurements. He is experienced in deploying sensor systems in coastal and open ocean environments, in the analysis of data from field and laboratory experiments, and in computer modeling of the optical properties of particles.

Mr. Pottsmith is co-founder and VP of Sequoia Scientific. He is an experienced mechanical engineer and has extensive background designing and deploying instrumentation for environmental science and monitoring, especially instruments for measuring sediment size and concentration.

The Eighth International Conference on Remediation and Management of Contaminated Sediments will be held January 12-15, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Conference is organized and presented by Battelle and Sponsors including public-and private-sector organizations active in environmental assessment, remediation and management. Attendance is expected to be 900 to 1,000 scientists, engineers, regulators, remediation site owners, constructors, and other environmental professionals representing universities, government agencies, consultants, and R&D and service firms from approximately 30 countries.