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Laboratory evaluation of the Sequoia Scientific LISST-ABS acoustic backscatter sediment sensor

December 18, 2017

Sequoia Scientific’s LISST-ABS is an acoustic backscatter sensor designed to measure suspended-sediment concentration at a point source. Three LISST-ABS were evaluated at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility (HIF). Serial numbers 6010, 6039, and 6058 were assessed for accuracy in solutions with varying particle-size distributions and for the effect of temperature on sensor accuracy. Certified sediment samples composed of different ranges of particle size were purchased from Powder Technology Inc. These sediment samples were 30–80-micron (µm) Arizona Test Dust; less than 22-µm ISO 12103-1, A1 Ultrafine Test Dust; and 149-µm MIL-STD 810E Silica Dust. The sensor was able to accurately measure suspended-sediment concentration when calibrated with sediment of the same particle-size distribution as the measured. Overall testing demonstrated that sensors calibrated with finer sized sediments overdetect sediment concentrations with coarser sized sediments, and sensors calibrated with coarser sized sediments do not detect increases in sediment concentrations from small and fine sediments. These test results are not unexpected for an acoustic-backscatter device and stress the need for using accurate site-specific particle-size distributions during sensor calibration. When calibrated for ultrafine dust with a less than 22-µm particle size (silt) and with the Arizona Test Dust with a 30–80-µm range, the data from sensor 6039 were biased high when fractions of the coarser (149-µm) Silica Dust were added. Data from sensor 6058 showed similar results with an elevated response to coarser material when calibrated with a finer particle-size distribution and a lack of detection when subjected to finer particle-size sediment. Sensor 6010 was also tested for the effect of dissimilar particle size during the calibration and showed little effect. Subsequent testing revealed problems with this sensor, including an inadequate temperature compensation, making this data questionable. The sensor was replaced by Sequoia Scientific with serial number 6039. Results from the extended temperature testing showed proper temperature compensation for sensor 6039, and results from the dissimilar calibration/testing particle-size distribution closely corroborated the results from sensor 6058.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2017
Title Laboratory evaluation of the Sequoia Scientific LISST-ABS acoustic backscatter sediment sensor
DOI 10.3133/ofr20171154
Authors Teri T. Snazelle
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2017-1154
Index ID ofr20171154
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Office of Surface Water

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