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3-8 Summary

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3.3. A trapezoidal channel having a bottom width of 20 m and side slopes of

2H:1V is carrying 60 m3 /s. Assuming = 1.1, determine the critical depth.
3.4. For the channel section shown in Fig. 3-11, determine the critical depth
for a flow of 80 m3 /s.

Fig. 3-11.

Cross section for Prob. 3-4

3.5. For a discharge of 850 m3 /s, compute the critical depth in a tunnel having
a standard horseshoe section (Fig. 3-12). The flow area, A, top water-surface
width, B, and hydraulic radius, R, at different flow depths, y, are listed in the
following table:

Fig. 3-12.

Horseshoe section

3.6. If y1 and y2 are the alternate depths in a rectangular channel, prove that
s
2(y1 y2 )2
yc = 3
y1 + y2

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3 CRITICAL FLOW
y
(m)

A
(m2 )

R
(m)

B
(m)

0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20

0.0
23.4
58.3
95.7
134.8
174.6
214.4
252.5
287.0
315.4
331.7

0.00
1.34
2.68
3.70
4.50
5.15
5.65
5.99
6.13
6.01
5.08

0.0
16.6
18.2
19.2
19.8
20.0
19.6
18.3
16.0
12.0
0.0

3.7. Derive expressions for the critical depth in a prismatic channel having
the following cross sections and assuming in each case that the slope of the
channel bottom is small:
i. Trapezoidal
ii. Triangular
iii. Circular
3.8. A 50-m wide rectangular channel is carrying a flow of 250 m3 /s at a flow
depth of 5 m. To produce critical flow in this channel, determine:
i. The height of the step in the channel bottom if the width remains constant
ii. The reduction in the channel width if the channel-bottom level remains
unchanged
iii. A combination of the width reduction and the bottom step.
3.9. The drainage canal shown in Fig. 3-13 has a flow of 96 m3 /s. If the flow
depth at Section 1 is 4.22 m, what is the depth at Section 2? Assume there
are no losses in the transition.
Determine the flow depth at the downstream end if the canal ends in a
free overfall. Assume that critical depth occurs at the overfall.
3.10. Write a general-purpose computer program to determine the critical
depth in a channel for a specified discharge and for either of the following
channel cross sections:
i. Circular;
ii. Trapezoidal;
iii. Triangular; and
iv. Horseshoe.

3-8 Summary

Fig. 3-13.

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Drainage canal of Prob. 3-9

3.11. Show that the critical depth in a channel having a triangular, rectangular, or parabolic cross section may be determined from the following explicit
equation:
1/(2m+3)
 2
Q (m + 1)3
yc =
g
4k 2
in which the x and y coordinates of the sides of the half-section may be defined
as x = ky m . For a triangular cross section, k = s, m = 1; for a rectangular
cross section, k = 12 Bo , m = 0; and for a parabolic cross section, k = (1/a)m ,
and m = 1/n with the equation for the parabola being y = axn .
3.12. A mountain creek has a parabolic cross section with a top water surface
width of 9 ft at a depth of 3 ft. Determine the critical depth for a flow of 50
ft3 /s.
3.13. An 8-ft diameter concrete-lined sewer is laid at a bottom slope of 1
ft/mile. Compute the critical depth for a discharge of 100 cfs.
3.14. A trapezoidal irrigation channel is 10 ft wide at the bottom and has
side slopes of 1 V: 2H. For a flow of 100 ft3 /s, determine the critical depth.
3.15. A 5-ft dia circular culvert carries a flow of 15 ft3 /s. Determine the
critical depth.
3.16. For a horse-shoe tunnel shown in Fig. 1-17 (do = 30 ft), determine the
critical depth for a discharge of 300 cfs.
3.17. A 4-ft diameter culvert barral carries a flow of 10 ft3 /sec and discharges
free into a lake. What is the depth just upstream of the free fall?

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3 CRITICAL FLOW

3.18. A high-level rectangular outlet at a dam is 10 ft wide, 15 ft high and

500 ft long. The invert level at the entrance is at El. 122 and the botom slope
is 0.001. A sluice gate at the entrance controls the
flow through the outlet. If
the coefficient of discharge, Cd , is 0.7 (Q = Cd A 2gH), determine the thrust
on the gate for the reservoir level of El 182. The water level in the river into
which the outlet discharges is at El. 131 for this flow.
3.19. In order to reduce the flow velocity at a section, a fisheries biologist
tied a 6-in diameter tree log at the bottom of a stream. The flow velocity
and the flow depth prior to the installation of the log were 2 ft/sec and 4 ft
respectively. Determine the change in the flow velocity and flow depth just
downstream of the log.
3.20. For the channel of Problem 3-8, what is the minimum channel width
without affecting the upstream water level.
3.21. The reservoir level upstream of an overflow spillway is at El. 400 ft. The
downstream water level for the design flow of 80,000 cfs is at El. 220 ft. If the
spillway width at the entrance to the stilling basin is 200 ft, determine the
invert level of the basin so that a hydraulic jump is formed in the basin at
design flow. No baffle piers, chute blocks, or end sill is to be provided.
3.22. Write a computer program to determine the critical depth in a channel
with circular cross section. Use the bisection and the Newton methods.
3.23. The flow velocity and flow depth in a 5-m wide rectangular channel are
1.5 m/s and 4 m respectively. Design a converging transition so that the flow
is critical in the transition. Assume the channel bottom to be horizontal, and
losses in the transition to be negligible.

References
Black, R. G., 1982, Discussion of Blalock and Sturm , Jour. Hyd. Div.,
Amer. Soc. Civ. Engrs., vol. 108, pp. 798-800.
Blalock, M. E. and Sturm, T. W., 1981, Minimum Specific Energy in Compound Channel, Jour. Hyd. Div., Amer. Soc. Civ. Engrs., vol. 107, pp.
699-717 (see also closure, vol. 109, 1983, pp. 483-486).
Chapra, S. C. and Canale, R. P., 2006, Numerical Methods for Engineers, 5th
ed., McGraw Hill, New York, NY.
Chaudhry, M. H., and Bhallamudi, S. M., 1988, Computation of Critical Depth
in Compound Channels, Jour., Hydraulic Research , Inter. Assoc. for Hydraulic Research., vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 377-395.
Chow, V. T., 1959, Open-Channel Hydraulics , McGraw-Hill Book Company,
New York, N. Y.