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Engr 418: Applied Hydraulics Specific Energy Lab Due 11/06/01 Cashman Fall 2001

You may work in groups to collect data. Each individual must write-up a separate lab report

Objective: The objective of this lab is to study the specific energy of flow in an open channel.

Use the hydraulic flume in SCI D 1 and any of the inserts you can find. The flume can be adjusted to any
desired bed slope, including horizontal. The discharge in the flume can be regulated to any desired value as
long as we don't flood the hydraulics lab.

Theory: The specific energy is defined by:


v2 v2
E  y cos    y
2g 2g
For cos  1 1.0

Or, for rectangular channels


Q2
E y
2 gb 2 y 2
Where b = width of channel.

For the critical state of flow, specific energy is minimum and therefore,

vc2 y
 c
2g 2
Procedure:
(1) Adjust the flume to the desired slope or measure the slope in ft/ft.
(2) Set-up your water surface profile using the flume inserts and sketch a diagram of the profiles.
(3) Determine where you are going to measure water depths.
(4) Adjust the discharge in the flume to approximately 0.15 cfs and 0.25 cfs. You can choose any two
flowrates, these are simply suggested values.
(5) Allowing some time for attaining a steady state, measure the depths you have determined and mark
those points on your sketch.

Report: Prepare your report incorporating the following:

(1) Prepare a graph that relates specific energy to depth (E vs. y) for Q = 0.10, 0.20, and 0.30 cfs with b =
the width of the laboratory flume. If you have flowrates other than those suggested above, prepare
three theoretical curves that bracket your experimental flowrates.
(2) Compute average velocities at each section you measured depths from the experimental data and plot a
specific energy curve for each flow rate (.15 and .25) on the same graph generated in step 1 above.
(3) Calculate the critical depth for each flow in order to complete the diagram.
(4) Draw the locus of critical depth points on the graph generated above.
(5) Discuss the following questions, considering the general problem of specific energy, i.e. not restricted
to cos  1 1.0
a) Does the critical state depend on (a) roughness of the channel (b) viscosity of water?
b) What is the total loss of energy in the flow between two sections you measured along the water
surface profile?
c) Derive an equation for yc = yc(q), where q = Q/b.
d) Given two alternate depths (ysuper and ysub), derive an equation for the discharge in the channel.
e) Given Given two alternate depths (ysuper and ysub), derive an equation for the critical depth yc.
f) Compare your experimental and theoretical values of yc for both flow rates. Discuss.
(6) Write a short conclusion comparing the theoretical and the experimental results.