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# Open Channel Flow

Monroe L. Weber-Shirk

## School of Civil and

Environmental Engineering

## Open Channel Flow

Liquid (water) flow with a ____
________
free surface
(interface between water and air)
relevant for
natural channels: rivers, streams
engineered channels: canals, sewer
lines or culverts (partially full), storm drains

## of interest to hydraulic engineers

location of free surface
velocity distribution
discharge - stage (______)
depth relationships
optimal channel design

## Topics in Open Channel Flow

Uniform Flow

normal depth

Discharge-Depth relationships

Channel transitions
Control structures (sluice gates, weirs)
Rapid changes in bottom elevation or cross section

## Critical, Subcritical and Supercritical Flow

Hydraulic Jump
Classification of flows
Surface profiles

Classification of Flows

(Temporal)
Steady: velocity at a given point does not change with
time

## Uniform, Gradually Varied, and Rapidly Varied (Spatial)

Uniform: velocity at a given time does not change
within a given length of a channel
distance

## Laminar and Turbulent

Laminar: flow appears to be as a movement of thin
layers on top of each other
Turbulent: packets of liquid move in irregular paths

## Momentum and Energy

Equations
Conservation of Energy
losses due to conversion of turbulence to heat
useful when energy losses are known or small
____________
Contractions
Must account for losses if applied over long distances
We need an equation for losses
_______________________________________________

Conservation of Momentum
losses due to shear at the boundaries
useful when energy losses are unknown
Expansion
____________

## Open Channel Flow:

Discharge/Depth Relationship
Given a long channel of
constant slope and cross
section find the relationship
between discharge and depth
Assume

A
P

## Steady Uniform Flow - ___ _____________

acceleration
prismatic channel (no changeno
in _________
with distance)

geometry
Use Energy, Momentum, Empirical or
Dimensional Analysis?
What controls depth given a discharge?
Why doesnt the flow accelerate?
hl d
0
4l
Force balance

Balance
V2

oP x
Shear force =________

2g

P
Wetted perimeter = __

x sin
Gravitational force = A
________

Ax sin o Px 0

o
A
P

= Rh

A
P

sin

a
d
Shear force

t o =g Rh S

W cos

sin

cos
Turbulence
Relationship between shear and velocity? ___________
W sin

sin

Open Conduits:
Dimensional Analysis
Geometric parameters
___________________
Channel length (l)
___________________
Roughness ()
___________________

Rh

A
P

## Write the functional relationship

l e

C p = f , , Re, Fr , M, W
Rh Rh

No!
Does Fr affect shear? _________

V
Fr =
yg

## Pressure Coefficient for Open

Channel Flow?
Cp

2p

Ch
l

V 2
2 ghl
V2

Pressure Coefficient
(Energy Loss Coefficient)

p hl

hl =S f l
Friction slope

CS f

2 gS f l
= 2
V

## Friction slope coefficient

Slope of EGL

Dimensional Analysis
CS f

l e

= f , , Re
Rh Rh

CS f

l e
= f , Re
Rh Rh

CS f

2 gS f l
= 2
V

## Head loss length of channel

Rh
e

Rh
C
=l
CS f
= f , Re=l (like f in Darcy-Weisbach)
Sf
l
l
Rh

2
LV
hl f
D 2g
2 gS f l Rh
2g
l V2
2
gS
R
f
h
V
=
S f Rh
Sf =
=l
V
=
2
l
Rh 2 g
V
l
l

## Chezy Equation (1768)

Introduced by the French engineer Antoine
Chezy in 1768 while designing a canal for
the water-supply system of Paris
V =C Rh S f

compare

2g
V=
S f Rh
l

## where C = Chezy coefficient

0.0054 > l > 0.00087
m
m
60
< C < 150
0.022 > f > 0.0035
s
s

## where 60 is for rough and 150 is for smooth

also a function of R (like f in Darcy-Weisbach)

For a pipe
d 4 Rh

## Darcy-Weisbach Equation (1840)

f = Darcy-Weisbach friction factor
l V2
hl =f
d 2g
l V2
S f l =f
4 Rh 2 g

l V2
hl =f
4 Rh 2 g
V2
S f Rh =f
8g

d 2

d
4

Rh
P
d
4
A

V=

8g
S f Rh
f

2.5
2 log

Similar to Colebrook
f
Re f
12 Rh
1
For rock-bedded streams
f
2
where d84 = rock size larger than 84% of the

Rh
1.2 2.03log
rocks in a random sample
d84

## Manning Equation (1891)

Most popular in U.S. for open channels
1 2/3 1/2
(MKS units!)
V R h So
1/3
n
T
/L
Dimensions of n?
V

1.49
n

## Is n only a function of roughness? NO!

1/2
R 2/3
S
h
o

Q VA

1
n

ARh2 / 3 S o1 / 2

(English system)
Bottom slope
very sensitive to n

Values of Manning n
Lined Canals
Cement plaster
Untreated gunite
Wood, planed
Wood, unplaned
Concrete, trowled
Concrete, wood forms, unfinished
Rubble in cement
Asphalt, smooth
Asphalt, rough
Natural Channels
Gravel beds, straight
Gravel beds plus large boulders
Earth, straight, with some grass
Earth, winding, no vegetation
Earth , winding with vegetation

n 0.031d 1 / 6 d in ft
n 0.038d 1 / 6 d in m

n
0.011
0.016
0.012
0.013
0.012
0.015
0.020
0.013
0.016

n = f(surface
roughness,
channel
irregularity,
stage...)

0.025
0.040
0.026
0.030
0.050

## d = median size of bed material

Trapezoidal Channel

1
n

ARh2 / 3 S o1 / 2

## Derive P = f(y) and A = f(y) for a

trapezoidal channel
How would you obtain y = f(Q)?
A yb y 2 z
2 1/ 2

+b
P =2
y
+
yz
(
)

2 1/ 2

P =2 y
1 +z
+b

Use Solver!

z
b

## Flow in Round Conduits

=( r sin q ) ( r cos q )

r y

arccos
r

A r 2 sin cos

T 2r sin
P 2 r

Maximum discharge
0.938d
when y = ______

A
T

Velocity Distribution
1
v y V

k 0.4

y
gdS 0 1 ln
d

## Von Krmn constant

V = average velocity
d = channel depth

0.4d
0.2d

## At what elevation does the

velocity equal the average
velocity?
y
- 1 =ln
d

1
y= d
e

0.8d

0.368d

Relations

V12

hL =S f Dx

2g

V22
2g

energy
______
hydraulic
_______

y1
y2
S o x
x

## Bottom slope (So) not necessarily equal to EGL slope (Sf)

Energy Relationships
Pipe flow

p1
V12 p2
V22
+z1 +a 1
= +z2 +a 2
+hL
g
2g g
2g

z - measured from
horizontal datum

## From diagram on previous slide...

2
1

2
2

V
V
y1 +So Dx + = y2 + +S f Dx
2g
2g

Turbulent flow ( 1)
y - depth of flow

## Energy Equation for Open Channel Flow

V12
V22
y1 + +So Dx = y2 + +S f Dx
2g
2g

Specific Energy
The sum of the depth of flow and the
velocity head is the specific energy:
E y

V2
2g

E1 S o x E2 S f x

+ pressure
y - _______
potential energy

V2
2g

- _______
kinetic energy

## If channel bottom is horizontal and no head loss

E1 E2
For a change in bottom elevation
E1 - Dy =E2

Specific Energy
In a channel with constant discharge, Q
Q A1V1 A2V2
V2
Q2
E y
E y
where A=f(y)
2
2g
2gA
Consider rectangular channel (A = By) and Q = qB
q is the discharge per unit width of channel
q2
E y
y
2gy 2
A
3 roots (one is negative)
B

2
How many possible depths given a specific energy? _____

## Specific Energy: Sluice Gate

10
9
y1 8
7
6
5
4
3
2
y2 1
0

E y

sluice gate
q = 5.5 m2/s
EGL y2 = 0.45 m
V2 = 12.2 m/s
1
E2 = 8 m

q2
2gy 2

vena contracta
2
0

9 10

E1 E2
Given downstream depth and discharge, find upstream depth.
y1 and y2 are ___________
alternate depths (same specific energy)
E

## Specific Energy: Raise the Sluice

Gate
sluice gate

4
3

EGL

y1
2

y2 1

E1 E2

0
0

2
E

E y

q2

2gy 2
as sluice gate is raised y1 approaches y2 and E is minimized:
Maximum discharge for given energy.

## Step Up with Subcritical Flow

Short, smooth step with rise y in channel
Given upstream depth and discharge find y2

4
3

Energy conserved

2
E

0
0

2
E

E1 =E2 +Dy

## Is alternate depth possible? __________________________

NO! Calculate depth along step.

Max Step Up
Short, smooth step with maximum rise y in channel

## What happens if the step is

y1 increases
increased further?___________
y

4
3
2
1

0
0

2
E

2
E

E1 =E2 +Dy

## Step Up with Supercritical flow

Short, smooth step with rise y in channel
Given upstream depth and discharge find y2

4
3

0
0

2
E

0
0

2
E

E1 =E2 +Dy

## What happened to the water depth?______________________________

Increased! Expansion! Energy Loss

yc

Critical Flow

3
2
1
0
0

Arbitrary cross-section

dE
0
dy
Q2
E y
A=f(y)
2gA2
Q 2 dA
dE
=1 =0
3
dy
gA dy
1

Q 2Tc
gAc3

QT
gA

Fr

T
y

dy
dA

A
P

dA =Tdy

T=surface width

## More general definition of Fr

2

V 2T
gA

Fr

A
=D
T

Hydraulic Depth

Critical Flow:
Rectangular channel
1

Q 2Tc
gAc3

Q qT

q 2T 3
3
c

gy T

yc
g

gyc3

T Tc

Ac ycT

Ac

q2
gyc3
1/ 3

## Only for rectangular channels!

Given the depth we can find the flow!

yc

## Critical Flow Relationships:

Rectangular Channels
q

yc
g

Vc
yc g
yc

yc3

yc

V2
2g

Vc2

Kinetic energy
Potential energy

## velocity head = 0.5 (depth)

2g

E yc

q Vc yc

because

inertial force
gravity force

Froude number

Vc2

E y

Vc2 yc2

1/ 3

yc
2

yc

2
3

Critical Depth
Minimum energy for a given q
dE
dy

0
Occurs when
=___
Vc2 yc
=
2g 2
When kinetic = potential! ________
Fr=1
4

Super
Fr>1 = ______critical
Sub
Fr<1 = ______critical

3
y

q
T
Vc
=
=Q
Fr =
3
3
gA
yc g
gyc

2
1
0
0

2
E

Critical Flow

2
1
0
0

2
E

Characteristics
Unstable surface
Series of standing waves

dE

dy

## Difficult to measure depth

Occurrence
Broad crested weir (and other weirs)
Channel Controls (rapid changes in cross-section)
Over falls
Changes in channel slope from mild to steep

## Used for flow measurements

Unique relationship between depth and discharge
___________________________________________

q

yc
g

gy

3
c

yc

Q =b gyc3

E
3/ 2

E 3/ 2

2
H
3

Q Cd b g

yc
weir

Hard to measure yc

2
Qb g
3

yc

1/ 3

3/ 2

## E measured from top of weir

Cd corrects for using H rather
than E.

Calculate the flow and the depth upstream.
The channel is 3 m wide. Is H approximately
equal to E?
H
0.5

yc m
yc=0.3
weir

## How do you find flow?____________________

Critical flow relation
Energy equation
How do you find H?______________________
Solution

## Could a hydraulic jump be laminar?

Hydraulic Jump
Used for energy dissipation
Occurs when flow transitions from
supercritical to subcritical
base of spillway
Steep slope to mild slope

## We would like to know depth of water

downstream from jump as well as the
location of the jump
Which equation, Energy or Momentum?

Hydraulic Jump
M1 M 2 W Fp Fp Fss Conservation of Momentum
hL
EGL
M 1 x M 2 x Fp Fp
1

1x

2x

y2

M 1 x V12 A1

y1

M 2 x V A2
2
2

QV1 QV2 p1 A1 p2 A2

A1

A2

gy1 A1
2

gy2 A2
2

r gy
p=
2

Q
A

Hydraulic Jump:
Conjugate Depths
For a rectangular channel make the following substitutions
A By

Fr1 =

V1
gy1

Much algebra

Q By1V1

Froude number
y2

y1
2

1 8 Fr12

y2 - 1 + 1 +8 Fr12
=
y1
2

## valid for slopes < 0.02

Hydraulic Jump:
Energy Loss and Length
Energy

Loss

E y

q2

E1 E2 hL
algebra

hL

y2 y1 3

4 y1 y2
2gy 2
significant energy loss (to turbulence) in jump

Length

of jump

## No general theoretical solution

Experiments show
L 6 y2 for 4.5 <Fr1 <13

Specific Momentum
gy1 A1 Q 2 gy2 A2 Q 2

2
A1
2
A2
y1 A1 Q 2
y2 A2 Q 2

2
A1 g
2
A2 g
y12 q 2
y22 q 2

2 y1 g
2 y2 g

When is M minimum?
dM
q
y 2
dy
y g
2

q 3
y Critical depth!
g
2

## Hydraulic Jump Location

Suppose a sluice gate is located in a long
channel with a mild slope. Where will the
hydraulic jump be located?
reservoir

Sluice gate

2m
10 cm
S = 0.005

Find Change in Depth wrt x
V12
V22
y1
So x y2
S f x
2g
2g

V22 V12
So dx y2 y1
S f dx
2 g 2 g
dy y2 y1

## Shrink control volume

T

V 2
dy d
S f dx So dx
2 g

d V
dx
dx

Sf
So

dy dy 2 g
dy
dy
dy

dy
y

A
P

Derivative of KE wrt Depth

dy
y

dA

A
P

2Q 2 dA
Q 2T
d V 2
d Q 2

Fr 2

2 gA3 dy
gA3
dy 2 g
dy 2 gA2

dy d V 2
dx
dx

Sf
So
dy dy 2 g
dy
dy
1 Fr S f
2

dy
dx

dx
dy

So

So S f
1 Fr 2

dx
dy

Change in KE
Change in PE

dA Tdy

## We are holding Q constant!

Is V A?
Does V=Q/A?_______________

## The water surface slope is a function of:

bottom slope, friction slope, Froude number

Governing equation
dy
dx

So S f
1 Fr 2

Note

## So and Sf are positive when sloping down in direction of

flow
y is measured from channel bottom
dy/dx =0 means water depth is _______

constant
yn is when So =S f

Surface Profiles
Mild slope (yn>yc)
in a long channel subcritical flow will occur

## Steep slope (yn<yc)

in a long channel supercritical flow will occur

## Critical slope (yn=yc)

in a long channel unstable flow will occur

yn undefined

yn undefined

Surface Profiles
Normal depth

Obstruction
Steep slope (S2)

Sluice gate
Steep slope

dx

So S f
1 Fr

S0 - Sf
+
-

1 - Fr2
+
+

dy/dx
+
-

yn
yc

dy

Hydraulic Jump

2
1

0
0

2
E

dy

S0 - Sf

1 - Fr2

dy/dx
4

2 +

+
-

+
-

1 Fr 2

yc
yn
y

1 +

dx

So S f

2
1

3 -

0
0

2
E

## Direct Step Method

y1

V12
2g

S o x y2

y1 y2
x

V12
2g

V22
2g

2g

rectangular channel
V1

y1

V2

energy equation

V22

S f So

S f x

solve for x
prismatic channel

q
y2

V2

Q
A2

V1

Q
A1

## Direct Step Method

Friction Slope
Manning

Darcy-Weisbach

n 2V 2
S f = 4/3
Rh

V2
S f =f
8 gRh

n 2V 2
Sf =
2.22 Rh4 / 3

SI units
English units

Direct Step
Limitation: channel must be _________
prismatic
(channel
geometry is independent of x so that velocity is a
function of depth only and not a function of x)
Method
identify type of profile (determines whether y is + or -)
choose y and thus yi+1
calculate hydraulic radius and velocity at y i and yi+1
calculate friction slope given y i and yi+1
calculate average friction slope
calculate x

## Direct Step Method

=y*b+y^2*z
y1 y2

=2*y*(1+z^2)^0.5 +b
=A/P

V12
2g

V22
2g

S f So

=Q/A
=(n*V)^2/Rh^(4/3)
=y+(V^2)/(2*g)
=(G16-G15)/((F15+F16)/2-So)
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
y
A
P
Rh
V
Sf
E
Dx
x
0.900 1.799 4.223
0.426 0.139
0.00004 0.901
0
0.870 1.687 4.089
0.412 0.148
0.00005 0.871
0.498 0.5

J
K
L
M
T
Fr
bottom surface
3.799
0.065 0.000
0.900
3.679
0.070 0.030
0.900

Standard Step
Given a depth at one location, determine the depth at a
second given location
Step size (x) must be small enough so that changes in
water depth arent very large. Otherwise estimates of the
friction slope and the velocity head are inaccurate
Can solve in upstream or downstream direction
Usually solved upstream for subcritical
Usually solved downstream for supercritical

y1

V12
2g

S o x y2

V22
2g

S f x

Steep Slope
S1
S3

## Is there a curve between yc and yn that increases in

NO!
depth in the downstream direction? ______

Mild Slope
If the slope is mild, the depth is less than the
critical depth, and a hydraulic jump occurs,
what happens next?
Rapidly varied flow!
When dy/dx is large then
V isnt normal to cs
Hydraulic jump! Check
conjugate depths

## Water Surface Profiles:

Putting It All Together
reservoir

Sluice gate

2m
10 cm
S = 0.005

## 1 km downstream from gate there is a broad crested

weir with P = 1 m. Draw the water surface profile.

Wave Celerity
Vw
y

V+V

y+y

M1 +M 2 =W +Fp1 +Fp2 +Fss
Per unit width
1
1
2
Fp = r gy 2
Fp =- r g ( y +d y )
2
2
1
2
2

Fp +Fp = r g
y
y
+
d
y
(
)

2
1

V-Vw V+V-Vw

y+y

Fp1
V-Vw

Fp2
V+V-Vw

Wave Celerity:
Momentum Conservation
M 1 V Vw y
2

M 2 =r ( V +dV - Vw ) ( V - Vw ) y

## Per unit width

M1 +M 2 =r y ( V - Vw ) [ ( V +dV - Vw ) - ( V - Vw ) ]
1
2
2

F
+
F
=
r
g
y
y
+
d
y
(
)
M1 +M 2 =r y ( V - Vw ) dV
p1
p2

## Now equate pressure and momentum

1
2
2
2

rg
y
y
2
y
d
y
d
y
=r y ( V - Vw ) dV

2
gy V Vw V

V-Vw V+V-Vw

y+y

Wave Celerity
y V Vw y y V V Vw

Mass conservation

## yV yVw yV yV yV yV yVw yVw

V V Vw

y
y

gy V Vw V

gy V Vw
gy V Vw

Momentum

V-Vw V+V-Vw

y+y

y

y
c V Vw

gy

V
yg

Fr

V
c

Wave Propagation
Supercritical flow
c<V
waves only propagate downstream
water doesnt know what is happening downstream
_________
upstream control

Critical flow
c=V

Subcritical flow
c>V
waves propagate both upstream and downstream

Discharge Measurements
Sharp-Crested Weir
V-Notch Weir
Sluice Gate
Explain the exponents of H!

2
Q Cd b 2 g H 3/ 2
3

8

Cd 2 g tan H 5 / 2
15
2
2
H
3

Q Cd b g

Q Cd byg 2 gy1
V 2 gH

3/ 2

Summary (1)
All the complications of pipe flow plus
free surface location
Various descriptions of energy loss
Chezy, Manning, Darcy-Weisbach
4

y

3
2

## Fr>1 decrease in E gives increase in y

Fr<1 decrease in E gives decrease in y
Fr=1 standing waves (also min E given Q)
1
0

2
E

Summary (2)
Methods of calculating location of free
Direct step (prismatic channel)
Standard step (iterative)
dy
So S f

Differential equation

Rapidly varying
Hydraulic jump

dx

1 Fr 2

q

gyc3

q (9.8m / s ) 0.3m
2

0.5

q 0.5144m 2 / s
Q qL 1.54m 3 / s

yc E
3

q2
E1 @y1
2
2 gE1

yc m
yc=0.3
weir
E2

yc 0.45m

2
E1 E2 P 0.95m
q2
E1 y1
2gy12
y1 0.935
H1 y1 0.5m 0.435

Summary/Overview
Energy losses
Dimensional Analysis
Empirical

8g
V=
S f Rh
f
1 2/3 1/2
V R h So
n

Energy Equation

V12
V22
y1 + +So Dx = y2 + +S f Dx
2g
2g

V2

q2
Q2
=y +
E y
2 =y +
2
2
gy
2
gA
2g

Specific Energy
Two depths with same energy!

## How do we know which depth4

is the right one?
3
Is the path to the new depth
2
possible?
1
0
0

2
E

What next?
Water surface profiles
Rapidly varied flow
A way to move from supercritical to subcritical flow
(Hydraulic Jump)

Surface profiles
Direct step
Standard step

Hydraulic Jump!

## Open Channel Reflections

Why isnt Froude number important for describing
the relationship between channel slope, discharge,
and depth for uniform flow?
Under what conditions are the energy and
hydraulic grade lines parallel in open channel
flow?
Give two examples of how the specific energy
could increase in the direction of flow.