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Hydraulics Prof. B.S.



Definition in free surface flow of water is classified as steady or unsteady flow.

The flow of water in rivers, canals, reservoirs, lakes, pools, and free- surface flow in

storm water drains, conduits, pipes , galleries, tunnels and culverts, in which the

velocities change with time, is defined as unsteady flow ( non - permanent, non -

stationary , or time -variable free- surface water flow).

Flow in natural channel is always unsteady. When the discharge changes slowly with

time is unsteady flow and is approximated by steady flow. The discharge hydrographs in

natural streams are largely comprised of using limb followed by recession limb. Those

flows occurring during a prolonged drought or those occurring for short time intervals at

the highest and lowest points of the hydrographs may be approximately considered to

be steady flows. In hydraulic engineering problems it is important to know when to treat

an unsteady flow as steady flow. For practical purposes, the answer is obtained by

judgment rather than by definite mathematical or experimental criteria.

Table: Criteria for classification of wave

Criteria Classification
Rate of Surges (Moving hydraulic jugs - hydraulic bore) Intermediate waves Long waves
variation capillary wave
Controlling gl
force Gravity C2 =

(gL 2πσ
) 2πy
C2 = ___ + ____ tanh ____ (for shallow water waves)
2π ρL ρL
Capillary wave

(gL 2πσ
C2 = ___ + ____
2π ρL ) (for deep wave)

Gravity and friction

Frequency Simple solitary
of 3a
occurrence η = 2a S ec h 2 ( x − ct )
2 y3
(Single form of gravity wave )

Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Hydraulics Prof. B.S. Thandaveswara

Undisturbed water flow


The Solitary Wave

Mutiple Wave train

Wave Groups
Direction of Downstream
movement Relative to channel bed slope
Vw Vw Vw
y V2 V2 y V2 y V2 y
2 V1 y1 y1 V1 2 y1 V1 2 y V1 2

Type A - Advancing Type B - Advancing Type B - Advancing Type B - Advancing

downstream upstream upstream upstream
(positive surge) (positive surge) (positive surge) (positive surge)

Vw = c + V1 Vw = c - V1 Vw = c + V1 Vw = c - V1

V - Vw+V2 Vw - V2 +V
y w V2 Vw - V1 V +V y Vw - V1 y y Vw 2 Vw+V1
2 y1 y w 1 2 y1 2 2 y1

Type A Type B Type C Type D

Four Types of rapidly varied uniformly progressive flow. (Top)

Unsteady flows; (bottom) the corresponding flows that appear steady to
an observer following the wavefront.
Relative to underlying flow


Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Hydraulics Prof. B.S. Thandaveswara

Wave Positive(higher) uniformly

surface progressive wave (sluice gate)
elevation Relative to level of underlying flow Surge
Negative(lower) Type C (Sluice gate)
and D is operated Demand Surge

Positive-negative (when Sluice is operated these these appear in pairs)

Occur Tidal in rivers

Type A, B occur in Tidal rivers
Rejected Surge

Form Single-faced (Monoclinical progressive rising wave)



Periodic or Mean Water Level L
wave η a

Definition Sketch for Oscillatory Wave Motion

Translator Particles constantly progressing the wave movement (Example: Sea waves)

Circular particle Orbits in Deep Water


Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Hydraulics Prof. B.S. Thandaveswara

Deep water
wave L
Stokesian Mean water level
Shallow y
water wave y'

Elliptical Particle Orbits in Shallow Water

Mean water level

Typical Cnoidal Wave Profile

flows) Finite amplitude due to initial disturbance
Kinematic Mechanical oscillation
wave Surface instability
Eg: Roll wave (progressive wave train)
Diffusive Steep slopes F > 2.0
Rapidly Progressing Surges, bores, depression
unsteady Floods in reservoirs and in channels / rivers

Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Hydraulics Prof. B.S. Thandaveswara

Ocean Waves and Tides


Wave: An oscillatory movement in a body of water manifested by an alternate rise and

fall of the surface.

Waves are a most conspicuous feature of the planet ocean. Their sheer size and vigor

have always impressed wave watchers. The scientific study of the waves began in the

early nineteenth century when Franz Gerstner, proposed to explain the phenomenon on

waves. According to him, water particles in a wave move in circular orbits.

In 1825, Ernst and Wilhelm Weber, in making experimental observations of a wave

tank, concluded that waves are reflected without loss of energy. In the twentieth

century, oceanographers such as Harold U. Sverdrup and Walter Munk undertook

detailed study of waves in order to predict wave and surf movements for naval

operations during World War II.

Wave parameters:

Wave period: The time for a wave crest to traverse a distance equal to one wavelength.

(1) Period (the time it takes two successive crests to pass a fixed point), (2) wavelength

(the distance between two consecutive crests), (3) height (the vertical distance between

a trough and a crest).

The speed of a moving wave can be determined as follows:

wavelength (L)
speed of wave (C) =
period (T)

Major components of a typical wave are depicted in (figure).

Wavelength Crest

Wave height Trough

Wave parameters

Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Hydraulics Prof. B.S. Thandaveswara


The effectiveness of wind in generating wave depends on three factors: (1) its average

speed, which determines its force, (2) its duration; and (3) the extent of open water

across which it blows (the fetch). When gusty winds blow for a long time and cover large

extents of the open water, waves of great height (sometimes up to 20 meter) can result.

A pressure transducer is a pressure sensing device equipped with a sensitive strain

gauge (or potentiometer) that records on a metal diaphragm the slightest change in

pressure caused by wave energy and which subsequently transmits it as an electronic

pulse. The intensity of waves is reflected by the strength of these electrical pulses.

The distinction between the motion of wave form and the motion of the water mass is

important. Waves are carriers of energy imparted to them by wind. Water masses are

not. In deep water, wave forms continue to move forward; but water masses (or the

water particles) are except for a slight amount of forward movement, essentially

stationary. When a wave is in deep water, the motion of individual particles at the

surface follows a circular orbital pattern and the orbital radius falls off quickly with depth.

For example, at a depth equal to one-half the wavelength, the orbital radius is reduced

to 4 percent of its surface value. As a result, the water motion gyrates to and fro instead

of circularly, and the speed of the water particles decreases rapidly with depth.

This mechanism can be illustrated by placing a tennis ball on a water surface. When a

wind - produced wave passes by, the ball will follow a circular orbital movement,

bouncing up and down without moving forward. Another ball just below the surface of

the water will behave in the same manner but will have a smaller radius to its circular


Sea: Generally chatoic waves produced by wind.

Swell: Long period’s waves (as opposed to short period waves that are characteristic of

a storm).

Surf: The breaking waves in a coastal region.

All unsteady flows involve movements of masses of fluid relative to the distortion and so

a problem of kinematics always arises in analyzing them. Indeed, motion or translation

of one part of the fluid relative to another is striking feature of all such motions.

Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Hydraulics Prof. B.S. Thandaveswara

Waves on the surface of deep water progress at a speed which varies with the

wavelength, and are thus called dispersive (Capillary waves are similar to light or sound

wave which are non-dispersive).

An oscillatory wave with a sinusoidal water surface profile. If the height 'h' of the wave is

very small compared with wavelength L. The waves progress at a speed c given by

C2 = ( gL/2π ) tanh ( 2π y/L ) which tends to C2 = ( gL/2π ) in deep water, when y /L

becomes large: the internal motions of particles are circles whose radius r decreases

rapidly with distance z below still water level, according to the exponential law where

r = a exp (k/g) where k = 2π / L and a is the surface radius = h / 2: the energy of the

system is ρg h 2 per unit area of water surface, and in deep water this energy moves at

a 'group' speed of c / 2.

A standing wave system is thus set up in which the vertical motions at places one

wavelength apart are double those of either incident or reflected waves, yet the motions

at places midway between are completely cancelled out. The motions at the places of

high amplitude give peculiar vigorous motions and sharp crested waves, sometimes

called clapotis. The motion that occurs in lakes, excited by wind fluctuations, and is

called a seiche.

Water orbit motion Direction of wave motion

Arrows indicate instantaneous water

motions when wave is in above position

Deep water osicllatory waves

When these waves of infinitesimal height are in relatively shallow water, i.e. when y / L

becomes small, the motion under one crest becomes more and more independent of

Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Hydraulics Prof. B.S. Thandaveswara

that under the adjacent ones, which for all practical purposes need not be present. The

waves are then solitary or long waves which progress at a velocity c = ( gy )

1/ 2
. A single

solitary wave can exist by a single suitable impulse given to the water at one place.

The single forward motion is sometimes termed a translation and the wave a translatory

wave: this name, as already mentioned, is a poor one since some degree of translation

is necessary in any wave.

The waves change shape and gradually spread, losing height in the process.

No vertical motion at
this point any time

wavelength L = 2b
A standing wave in a water body
Two mode

wavelength L = b
A seiche in which there is only a half
a wavelength at any one instant in
the water body
In the intermediate range of depths when neither the deep water wave speed

C2 = ( gL/2π ) , nor shallow water solitary wave speed C 2 = gy are applicable.

It is found that at low values of the parameter hL2 / y3 the two tendencies balance and

the waves neither spread nor steepen; they are propagated without change of shape,

which is that of a complicated elliptic function, and are called cnoidal waves. At high

values of hL2 / y3 the steepening of wave occurs and the crest gradually steepen until

the break.

Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Hydraulics Prof. B.S. Thandaveswara

Solitary wave
Cnoidal wave
Sinusoidal wave
Still water

Three types of waves


Hydraulic jump - Steady state

Type - I Type - II Type - III

Type - I is caused by a Type - II waves is caused by Type - III waves is caused by
sudden reduction of the sudden increase in depth at sudden increase of the discharge
flow in a channel when the downstream end of flow such as opening of Gates or
gate is closed or discharge similar to the rising tide into Dam break
is reduced. The front becomes an estuary. This is known as
less marked as it progresses Moving hydraulic jump or Bore
away from the Gate and finally
dies out in a series of Cnoidal
Solitary waves affected by
backward flow and breaks Cnoidal waves Sinusoidal (small amplitude waves)


Indian Institute of Technology Madras