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1.1 Stream Flow Fundamentals
In engineering and scientific areas, or in daily life, stream flow in channels or conduits can be hap-
pening as part of the processes involved or ordinarily without being noticed, respectively. Such fluid
flow can be in a penstock from the dam of a hydro-electric power plant, outlet piping from a gravity
oil tank, or in the garden hose connected to a household elevated water tank.

Closed conduits in engineering applications are mostly of circular or rectangular cross section and
flow in such pipes, tubes or air ducts fluids entirely contact with inner surfaces of the rigid boundaries.

For open-channel flows, boundaries could be a void or nothing at all, not of rigid material or not
entirely solid, or the boundary of flow may be another or the other part of fluid. A significant example
of these open-channel flows are those characterized by irrigation canals, rivers, tidal currents, or those
running water after a rain that travels the ground surface.

The shape and the cross sectional area of the flow can change together the stream in both closed
conduits and open channels with the flows could be varying or unsteady or changing with time. A
Flow is considered uniform or steady, that is, not changing with time, if it does not change with a
cross section or geometry change.

Laminar and turbulent flows in conduits and channels are studied in this practical report that fo-
cuses on steady uniform flow in straight channels. Insights on the various fundamental aspects of fluid
flows in the natural world such as in rivers and in the oceans that are complicated will be simplified
wherein the subject in this study can apply to a varying flow characteristics in conduits and pipes but
would be tackled in fluid dynamics lessons and standard textbooks.

The relationship between relevant parameters in open channels such as flow, channel velocity, flow
area and channel slope is determined using Manning’s equation that will be presented in this practical
1.2 MatLab as Applied in Engineering
Technical computing requirements can be served well by Mathlab, a high-performance language and
development tool that integrates calculations, visualization, and programming that can be an easy-to-
use and features familiar mathematical notation to solve problems. Common application of MatLab
include mathematical computations, algorithm development, and others.

Thousands of Engineers and Scientists around the world make use of this numerical computation
and simulation tool. MatLab can be used as a fully customizable calculator as well as an interpreter
programming language, and do purely numerical calculations particularly matrix manipulations. The
MatLab environment utilizes a so-called ”symbolic” toolbox in achieving computer algebra function-
ality comparable to the computer algebra programs capability of Mathematica or Maple to calculate
with mathematical equations using symbolic operations. As an interpreter programming language,
MatLab’s command interface form has the feel with similar to the popular programming languages
such as C/C++ and implements object-oriented programming support, data structures and cell arrays
in classes construction [1].

1.3 LaTeX for Technical and Scientific Reports

Read or pronounced as ”Lah-tech” or ”Lay-tech”, rhymes with ”blech” or ”Bertolt Brecht”, LaTeX,
aside of being a capable document preparation system for high-quality typesetting, is commonly used
for medium-to-large technical or scientific documents. Though not a word processing software, it can
be useful in almost any form of publishing where authors are encouraged to concentrate on getting
the right content and not worry too much about the appearance of their documents.

Features and capabilities of LaTeX include covers: typesetting journal articles, technical reports,
books, and slide presentations; control over large documents containing sectioning, cross-references,
tables and figures; typesetting of complex mathematical formulas; advanced typesetting of mathemat-
ics with AMS-LaTeX; automatic generation of bibliographies and indexes; multi-lingual typesetting;
inclusion of artwork, and process or spot colour, and; using PostScript or Metafont fonts [5].
In creating this practical activity report, MIKTEX and TeXnicCenter that are freely available
LaTeX distribution for the Windows desktop environment have been used. An editable LaTex .tex
file is created as well as the .pdf file that can be opened using any PDF viewer.

2.1 Manning’s Equation
The Manning’s equation is an empirical equation that applies to uniform flow in open channels. This
flow is a function of the channel velocity, flow area and channel slope. Manning formula was introduced
by the Irish Engineer Robert Manning in 1889 [4] and stated as:
k 2/3 1/2
V = Rh So (1)
Where V is the cross-sectional average velocity, n the Manning’s coefficient which is not dimen-
sionless having certain unit of measurement, Rh is the hydraulic radius, So slope of the hydraulic grade
line or the linear hydraulic head loss which is equal to the channel bed slope when the water depth is
constant, and k being the conversion factor between SI and English units.

2.2 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The Environmental Protection Agency is the leading environmental protection and policing oversight
agency in Ireland ensuring that country’s environment is protected, environmental changes or trends
monitored to detect early warning signs of neglect or deterioration, working with a number of organi-
zations that carry out specific environmental function derive our mandate are the Waste Management
Act, 1996, and the Protection of the Environment Act, 2003 and Radiological Protection (Miscella-
neous Provisions) Act 2014 [2].

The EPA HydroNet site provides access to hydrometric data collected at the network of Local
Authority hydrometric stations and processed by EPA. The EPA also maintains the Register of Hy-
drometric Stations In Ireland, which is available to download from HydroNet website.

The hydrometric data available from the HydroNet website will be used in determining the power
generation prospect for a particular site in Ireland. The head of a stream is the source of power in
hydro-electric generation and it is a challenging task to determine for specific watercourse sites [7].
This potential energy can be converted to power according to the equation:

P = Q · Hg · γ (2)
Where P is the power in kW lost by the water that can be converted to electricity, Q is the flow
in m3 /s, Hg is the gross head in m, and γ is the specific weight of water equal to 9.81 kN/m3 .


3.1 Rectangular Channel
Using Manning formula, the flow in a rectangular channel has a given hydraulic gradient S=0.001, and
Manning’s coefficient n=0.014. The top width of the channel T is 6m. This report gives the plot for the
chart of flow based on the variation of depth of the channel from 4m to 0.5m determined using MatLab.

Using the MatLab Script 1 a rectangular channel has resulted to an almost straight line as shown
in the plotted graph of Figure 1 implying that the relationship is uniform.

3.2 Trapezoidal Channel

Trapezoidal open channel flow chart plot showing its variation with varying depth from 4m to 0.5m
using Manning formula and MatLab will be determined. The trapezoidal open channel which is to
be used as a power conveyance system in a hydro-power scheme has a bottom width of 3m and side
slopes with inclination of 1.5:1.

Running the MatLab Script 2, for an open trapezoidal channel with specification above Figure 2
results. It can be observed that as the depth increases, flow rate is not uniformly increasing as shown
in the curve plotted.

3.3 EPA HydroNet Data and Power Available

Power available based on a given head and flow obtained from a hydrometric data will be calculated
using MatLab and the result plotted. The EPA HydroNet site provides access to needed hydrometric
data, where assumed net head is 12 m. The hydrometric data covers 3-month time period flow rate

Figure 1: Rectangular Channel Flow Plot

Figure 2: Trapezoidal Channel Flow Plot


as indicated. With no specific site being required, this Practical No. 1 will select the hydrometric
discharge in the period 09/08/2018 to 08/11/2018 [2].

As seen in Figure 3 for the plotted chart, availability of power resulting from varying flow is also
not uniform. This is from the fact that the hydrometric data is having variations and fluctuations
in the period covered. Plot produced using the MatLab Script 3 that mines data from an comma-
separated-values (csv) file.

3.4 Learning in this Practical Activity

Stream flow determination in a rectangular channel and an open trapezoidal channel is possible
through the use of Manning formula with the aid of MatLab as an indispensable tool. The Manning’s
coefficient would matter in the result as this is different between materials. The formula is applicable
only to channels with a flat bottom [7].

With analysis of natural watercourses more complex but the formulae can be applied for initial
approximations [7]. The learning in this activity can be of use in hydraulic engineering practically
applicable on hydro-power studies. Such initial approximation can be useful in analysing, for example,
any of the 3,446 sites that were already inspected or identified in Ireland [6].
4.1 MatLab Scripts Used
MatLab Script 1 calculates and plots fluid flow for the rectangular channel, Script 2 for the trapezoidal
open channel while Script 3 plots the power resulting from hydrometric data downloaded from the
EPA HydroNet site.

%For rectangular open channel flow calculation and plotting using Manning
%formula to show how the flow varies as the depth of the channel change
%from 4m to 0.5m

%Manning's Coefficient n
n= 0.014;

%Hydraulic Gradient S (slope)


%Width of Channel b (meter)


%Top Width of Channel t


%Start the program iteration by choosing the value of increment y0

for I=1:40

%Plot a graph of result

figure (1)

%plot and choose axis

legend('Plot where n − 0.014, S = 0.001, and T = 6');

%title of the graph

title('Rectangular Channel Flow Based on Manning''s Equation');

%title on the X axis

xlabel('Depth (m)');

%title on the y axis

ylabel('Flow mˆ3/s');

%choose file type and save location

fn2=strcat('Rect Channel graph','');

%Script for trapezoidal open channel flow program using Manning formula
%to show how the flow varies as the depth of the channel change

%from 4m to 0.5m at bottom width of 3m and side slopes inclination of 1.5:1.
%side slope
%b=width of channel
%iteration programme part
for i=1:100
figure (2)
plot (y,q,'rx−','linewidth',2);
legend('Plot where n − 0.014, S = 0.001, z = 1.5 and b = 3');
title('Trapezoidal Open Channel Flow Based on Manning''s Equation');
xlabel ('Depth (m)');
ylabel ('Flow mˆ3/s');

%choose file type and save location

fn2=strcat('Trape Channel
, graph' '');
fn1=strcat('D:\\ ',fn2);

% This script reads in a csv file as downloaded from the hydronet tool.
% The file contains flow rate data in mˆ3/s and time stamps. Once run,
% the time stamps are saved in a vector called 'date', and the corresponing
% flow rates are saved in a vector called 'flow'. Any gaps in the data are
% given a flow of zero. Used on the 3−month data from Station number
% 09010, Station Name − on the period 09/08/2018− 08/11/2018
% using MATLAB. It may require adjiustment for other stations and/or
% time periods depending on the csv format.
% 08/11/2018

% clear % Clears the MATLAB workspace

% clc % Clears the MATLAB command window
% close all % Closes any open plots

\ 3 months.csv');
file id = fopen('D:\ % Opens the file with the data,
% change path and filename to
% suit actual file

% This loop esentially jumps over the first 7 lines of text so that only
% lines with data and data are to be considered
for cnt = 1:7
mydummy = fgetl(file id);

% This loop reads in lines from the data file until the end of the file is
% reaached

line = 1;
while 1 == 1
myvar = fgetl(file id);
if myvar ==−1

% The next line sets the date equal to the time stamp
% but csv file has yyyy−mm−dd hh:mm:ss format
% need to change to mm/dd/yyy format

yyyy = myvar(1:4);
mm = myvar(6:7);
dd = myvar(9:10);
hh = myvar(12:13);
mi = myvar(15:16);
ss = myvar(18:19);
siteflow = myvar(21:25);
mydatestr = [mm,'/', dd, '/', yyyy, ' ', hh, ':', mi, ':', ss];

date{line} = datenum(mydatestr);

% This if−else statements eoither sets the flow to zero if the entry is
% empty, or sets it equal to the value in the file
len = length(myvar);
if len<=21
flow(line) = 0;
flow(line) = str2num(siteflow);

head = 12;

Pow(line)=flow(line)*head*9.81; % multplied by 1000 to get Watts

line = line+1;

if line > 8107 % 8107 used due to having error when exceeding arrays index

fclose(file id); % Closes the file

%This is a quick plot of the flow against the date, please improve upon it.

%Set Latex as default text interperater
% set(figure(3),'defaulttextinterpreter','latex');


title('River Discharge (Flow) Data for 3−Month Period','Fontsize',15);

% set(gca,'Xtick',[1 length(date)],'XTickLabel',{datestr(date(2)), datestr(date(end))});
xlabel('Hydrometric Data (09 Aug 2018 − 08 Nov 2018)');
%Title on the Y axis
ylabel('Flow (mˆ3/s)');
%Choose file type and save location
fn2=strcat(' Flow graph','');
\ ',fn2);

%Set Latex as default text interperater
% set(figure(4),'defaulttextinterpreter','latex');
% plot(date, Pow,'rx−','linewidth',2);


title('River Discharge (Power) for 3−Month Period','Fontsize',15);
% set(gca,'Xtick',[1 length(date)],'XTickLabel',{datestr(date(2)), datestr(date(end))});
%Title on the Y axis
ylabel('Power (kW)');
xlabel('Hydrometric Data (09 Aug 2018 − 08 Nov 2018)');
%Choose file type and save location
fn2=strcat(' Power graph','');
\ ',fn2);

[1] Dooley, T. (2016) Why MATLAB? A Short Introduction. [pdf] DkIT School of Engineering
(Accessed: November 2018)

[2] EPA HydroNet. (2018) [online] Available at: (Accessed:

November 2018)

[3] Manning’s Equation. (2006) [online] Available at:

8 Hydraulic Reference/Manning s Equation.htm (Accessed: November 2018)
[4] Oetiker, T., Partl, H., Hyna, I. and Schlegl, E. (2018). The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX.
[pdf] Tobias Oetiker and Contributors. Available at:
(Accessed: November 2018)
[5] Thematic Network on Small Hydropower.(2004). Guide on How to Develop a Small Hydropower
Plant. European Small Hydropower Association