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This programme looks at how a model, used by the Thames Water Authority to control pollution in the Thames, was developed and refined.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: M101, Mathematics: a foundation course
Item code: M101; 25; 1978
First transmission date: 24-09-1978
Published: 1978
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:28
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Producers: David Saunders; Martin Wright
Contributors: Andrew Cockburn; Stewart Gartside
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Dissolved oxygen; Exponential decay; London; Rivers; Sewage works; Steady state solution; Thames 1950's 1960's; Tides
Footage description: The programme opens with views of the river Thames, pollution in the river, sewerage works and graphs showing oxygen levels in the Thames over the last 100 years. Andrew Cockburn, of the Thames Water Authority explains why oxygen levels fell dangerously and how a mathematical model helped the Water Authority. Stewart Gartside examines how that model was built up from small pieces. Using a scale model he gives examples of some of the factors which had to be accounted for. He takes a closed section of the river and examines what happens to a fixed amount of pollutant fed into that section. An animated sequence shows how the pollution is dealt with over time. He describes mathematical equations which express this relationship and also the relationship of oxygen levels to the amount of pollution in the water. These are again demonstrated with graphs. The model and graphs are now developed to allow for oxygen absorbtion from the surface and also for a constant input of pollutant. Animated graphs demonstrate that steady state values of oxygen and pollutant depend on the inflow of sewage and oxygen. Stewart now shows how the developers of the original model improved it to allow for river flow and tidal movement. The graphs produced by the more sophisticated model are matched against the sag curve shown at the start of the programme and are seen to fit very closely. Andrew Cockburn explains hov the model is still used to help the Water Authority with investment and planning decisions.
Master spool number: HOU2778
Production number: FOUM429J
Videofinder number: 2487
Available to public: no