# Chapter 13 OPEN-CHANNEL FLOW

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1 Fluid Mechanics: Fundamentals and Applications, 2nd Edition Yunus A. Cengel, John M. Cimbala McGraw-Hill, 2010 Lecture slides by Mehmet Kanoglu Copyright The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for reproduction or display. Chapter 13 OPEN-CHANNEL FLOW Lecturer: Prof. Dong Jin Cha, PhD Department of Building and Plant Engineering Hanbat National University

2 Any flow of a liquid with a free surface is a type of openchannel flow. In this photograph, the Nicholson River meanders through northern Australia. 2

3 Objectives Understand how flow in open channels differs from pressurized flow in pipes Learn the different flow regimes in open channels and their characteristics Predict if hydraulic jumps are to occur during flow, and calculate the fraction of energy dissipated during hydraulic jumps Understand how flow rates in open channels are measured using sluice gates and weirs 3

4 13 1 CLASSIFICATION OF OPEN-CHANNEL FLOWS Open-channel flow: Refers to the flow of liquids in channels open to the atmosphere or in partially filled conduits and is characterized by the presence of a liquid gas interface called the free surface. Examples: Most natural flows encountered in practice, such as the flow of water in creeks, rivers, and floods, as well as the draining of rainwater off highways, parking lots, and roofs are open-channel flows. Human-made open-channel flow systems include irrigation systems, sewer lines, drainage ditches, and gutters, and the design of such systems is an important application area of engineering. In an open channel, the flow velocity is zero at the side and bottom surfaces because of the no-slip condition, and maximum at the midplane for symmetric geometries, typically somewhat below the free surface. Typical constant axial velocity contours in an open channel of trapezoidal cross section; values are relative to the average velocity. Natural and human-made open-channel flows are characterized by a free surface open to the atmosphere. 4

5 The velocity distribution (and thus flow) in open channels is, in general, three-dimensional. Since the average velocity varies only with streamwise distance x, V is a one-dimensional variable. We consider flows with one-dimensional average velocity. Despite its simplicity, the one-dimensional equations provide remarkably accurate results and are commonly used in practice. The no-slip condition on the channel walls gives rise to velocity gradients, and wall shear stress develops along the wetted surfaces. The wall shear stress varies along the wetted perimeter at a given cross section and offers resistance to flow. The magnitude of this resistance depends on the viscosity of the fluid as well as the velocity gradients at the wall surface, which in turn depend on wall roughness. Open-channel flows are also classified as being steady or unsteady. The flow is said to be steady if the flow depth does not vary with time at any given location along the channel. Otherwise, the flow is unsteady. In this chapter we deal with steady flow only. 5

6 Uniform and Varied Flows Uniform flow: If the flow depth (and thus the average velocity) remains constant. Nonuniform or Varied flow: The flow depth varies with distance in the flow direction. Uniform flow conditions are commonly encountered in practice in long straight sections of channels with constant slope, constant roughness, and constant cross section. The flow depth in uniform flow is called the normal depth y n, which is an important characteristic parameter for open-channel flows. For uniform flow in an open channel, the flow depth y and the average flow velocity V remain constant. 6

7 The presence of an obstruction in the channel, such as a gate or a change in slope or cross section, causes the flow depth to vary (varied or nonuniform flow). Such varied flows are common in both natural and human-made open channels such as rivers, irrigation systems, and sewer lines. Rapidly varied flow (RVF): If the flow depth changes markedly over a relatively short distance in the flow direction (such as the flow of water past a partially open gate or over a falls), and Gradually varied flow (GVF): If the flow depth changes gradually over a long distance along the channel. A gradually varied flow region typically occurs between rapidly varied and uniform flow regions. Uniform flow (UF), gradually varied flow (GVF), and rapidly varied flow (RVF) in an open channel. 7

8 Laminar and Turbulent Flows in Channels Like pipe flow, open-channel flow can be laminar, transitional, or turbulent, depending on the value of the Reynolds number. V is the average liquid velocity n is the kinematic viscosity R h is the hydraulic radius Laminar: Re 500, Turbulent for Re ³ 2500 Transitional for 500 Re 2500 Laminar flow is encountered when a thin layer of water flows at a low velocity. The relationship between the hydraulic radius and hydraulic diameter is not what you might expect. 8

9 The Reynolds number associated with water flow in open channels is typically above 50,000, and thus the flow is almost always turbulent. The wetted perimeter includes the sides and the bottom of the channel in contact with the liquid it does not include the free surface and the parts of the sides exposed to air. For example, the wetted perimeter and the cross-sectional flow area for a rectangular channel of height h and width b containing water of depth y are p = b + 2y and A c = yb, respectively. Then, 9

10 Hydraulic radius relations for various open-channel geometries. 10

11 13 2 FROUDE NUMBER AND WAVE SPEED Open-channel flow is also classified as subcritical, critical, or supercritical, depending on the value of the dimensionless Froude number: L c is taken to be the flow depth y for wide rectangular channels Analogy between the Mach number for compressible flow and the Froude number for open-channel flow. 11

12 Subcritical or tranquil flow: At low flow velocities (Fr < 1), a small disturbance travels upstream (with a velocity c 0 - V relative to a stationary observer) and affects the upstream conditions. Supercritical or rapid flow: At high flow velocities (Fr > 1), a small disturbance cannot travel upstream and thus the upstream conditions cannot be influenced by the downstream conditions. The flow in this case is controlled by the upstream conditions. A liquid can accelerate from subcritical to supercritical flow. It can also decelerate from supercritical to subcritical flow, and it can do so by undergoing a shock. The shock in this case is called a hydraulic jump, which corresponds to a normal shock in compressible flow. Definitions of subcritical flow and supercritical flow in terms of critical depth. 12

13 Speed of Surface Waves An important parameter in the study of open-channel flow is the wave speed c 0, which is the speed at which a surface disturbance travels through a liquid. The generation and analysis of a wave in an open channel. 13

14 Supercritical flow through a sluice gate. A hydraulic jump can be observed on a dinner plate when (a) it is rightsideup, but not when (b) it is upside down. 14

15 13 3 SPECIFIC ENERGY z is the elevation head P/rg = y is the gage pressure head V 2 /2g is the velocity or dynamic head Specific energy E s : The sum of the pressure and dynamic heads of a liquid in an open channel. The specific energy E s of a liquid in an open channel is the total mechanical energy (expressed as a head) relative to the bottom of the channel. 15

16 The specific energy reaches a minimum value E s, min at someintermediate point, called the critical point, characterized by the critical depth y c and critical velocity V c. The minimum specific energy is also called the critical energy. Variation of specific energy E s with depth y for a specified flow rate. A sluice gate illustrates alternate depths the deep liquid upstream of the sluice gate and the shallow liquid downstream of the sluice gate. 16

17 The point of minimum specific energy is indeed the critical point, and the flow becomes critical when the specific energy reaches its minimum value. It follows that the flow is subcritical at lower flow velocities and thus higher flow depths (the upper arm of the curve in Fig ), supercritical at higher velocities and thus lower flow depths (the lower arm of the curve), and critical at the critical point (the point of minimum specific energy). Specific energy can be expressed in terms of the critical depth alone as In uniform flow, the flow depth and the flow velocity, and thus the specific energy, remain constant since E s = y + V 2 /2g. The head loss is made up by the decline in elevation (the channel is sloped downward in the flow direction). In nonuniform flow, however, the specific energy may increase or decrease, depending on the slope of the channel and the frictional losses. 17

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19 13 4 CONSERVATION OF MASS AND ENERGY EQUATIONS The slope of the bottom of the channel The total energy of a liquid flowing in an open channel. If the channel bottom is straight (the bottom slope is constant): 19

20 In the design of open-channel systems, the bottom slope is selected such that it provides adequate elevation drop to overcome the frictional head loss and thus to maintain flow at the desired rate. Therefore, there is a close connection between the head loss and the bottom slope, and it makes sense to express the head loss as a slope (or the tangent of an angle). This is done by defining a friction slope as Note that the friction slope is equal to the bottom slope when the head loss is equal to the elevation drop. That is, S f = S 0 when h L = z 1 - z 2. The energy line z + y + V 2 /2g (total mechanical energy of the liquid expressed as a head) above the horizontal reference datum. The energy line is typically sloped down like the channel itself as a result of frictional losses, the vertical drop being equal to the head loss h L and thus the slope being the same as the friction slope. The total energy of a liquid at two sections of an open channel. 20

21 13 5 UNIFORM FLOW IN CHANNELS Flow in a channel is called uniform flow if the flow depth (and thus the average flow velocity remains constant. Uniform flow conditions are commonly encountered in practice in long straight runs of channels with constant slope, constant cross section, and constant surface lining. The flow depth in uniform flow is called the normal depth y n, and the average flow velocity is called the uniform-flow velocity V 0. Chezy coefficient The Chezy coefficient ranges from about 30 m 1/2 /s for small channels with rough surfaces to 90 m 1/2 /s for large channels with smooth surfaces. In uniform flow, the flow depth y, the average flow velocity V, and the bottom slope S 0 remain constant, and the head loss equals the elevation loss, hl = z1 - z2 = S f L = S 0 L. 21

22 Manning coefficient n: It depends on the roughness of the channel surfaces. Manning equations (Gauckler Manning equations) Critical Uniform Flow Flow through an open channel becomes critical flow when the Froude number Fr = 1 and thus the flow speed equals the wave speed For film flow or flow in a wide rectangular channel with b >> y c, 22

23 Superposition Method for Nonuniform Perimeters The surface roughness and thus the Manning coefficient for most natural and some human-made channels vary along the wetted perimeter and even along the channel. A river, for example, may have a stony bottom for its regular bed but a surface covered with bushes for its extended floodplain. There are several methods for solving such problems, either by finding an effective Manning coefficient n for the entire channel cross section, or by considering the channel in subsections and applying the superposition principle. For example, a channel cross section can be divided into N subsections, each with its own uniform Manning coefficient and flow rate. When determining the perimeter of a section, only the wetted portion of the boundary for that section is considered, and the imaginary boundaries are ignored. The flow rate through the channel is the sum of the flow rates through all the sections, as illustrated in Example

24 Discussion The flow rate is a strong function of the bottom angle. Also, there is considerable uncertainty in the value of the Manning coefficient, and thus in the flow rate calculated. A 10% uncertainty in n results in a 10% uncertainty in the flow rate. 24

25 Discussion Note that y is the flow depth, and thus this is the minimum value for the channel height. Also, there is considerable uncertainty in the value of the Manning coefficient n, and this should be considered when deciding the height of the channel to be built. 25

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28 13 6 BEST HYDRAULIC CROSS SECTIONS For a given channel length, the perimeter of the channel is representative of the system cost, and it should be kept to a minimum in order to minimize the size and thus the cost of the system. The best hydraulic cross section for an open channel is a semicircular one since it has the minimum wetted perimeter for a specified crosssectional area, and thus the minimum flow resistance. A rectangular open channel of width b and flow depth y. For a given cross-sectional area, the highest flow rate occurs when y = b/2. 28

29 The flow rate increases as the flow aspect ratio y/b is increased, reaches a maximum at y/b=0.5, and then starts to decrease. We see the same trend for the hydraulic radius, but the opposite trend for the wetted perimeter p. These results confirm that the best cross section for a given shape is the one with the maximum hydraulic radius, or equivalently, the one with the minimum perimeter. 29

30 Rectangular Channels Therefore, a rectangular open channel should be designed such that the liquid height is half the channel width to minimize flow resistance or to maximize the flow rate for a given cross-sectional area. This also minimizes the perimeter and thus the construction costs. 30

31 Trapezoidal Channels Parameters for a trapezoidal channel. 31

32 The best hydraulic cross section for a circular channel of diameter D can be shown to be y = D/2. The best cross section for trapezoidal channels is half of a hexagon. 32

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34 13 7 GRADUALLY VARIED FLOW Gradually varied flow (GVF): A form of steady nonuniform flow characterized by gradual variations in flow depth and velocity (small slopes and no abrupt changes) and a free surface that always remains smooth (no discontinuities or zigzags). A change in the bottom slope or cross section of a channel or an obstruction in the path of flow may cause the uniform flow in a channel to become gradually or rapidly varied flow. Variation of properties over a differential flow section in an open channel under conditions of gradually varied flow (GVF). 34

35 For specified values of S 0 and S f, the term dy/dx may be positive or negative, depending on whether the Froude number is less than or greater than 1. Therefore, the flow behavior is opposite in subcritical and supercritical flows. For S 0 S f > 0, the flow depth increases in the flow direction in subcritical flow, but it decreases in supercritical flow. A slow-moving river of approximately constant depth and cross section, such as the Chicago River shown here, is an example of uniform flow with S 0» S f and dy/dx» 0. 35

36 Liquid Surface Profiles in Open Channels, y(x) It is important to be able to predict the flow depth for a specified flow rate and specified channel geometry. A plot of flow depth versus downstream distance is the surface profile y(x) of the flow. The general characteristics of surface profiles for gradually varied flow depend on the bottom slope and flow depth relative to the critical and normal depths. Designation of the letters S, C, M, H, and A for liquid surface profiles for different types of slopes. Designation of the numbers 1, 2, and 3 for liquid surface profiles based on the value of the flow 36 depth relative to the normal and critical depths.

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39 Some Representative Surface Profiles A typical open-channel system involves several sections of different slopes, with connections called transitions, and thus the overall surface profile of the flow is a continuous profile made up of the individual profiles described earlier. Some common surface profiles encountered in open-channel flow. All flows are from left to right. 39

40 Some common surface profiles encountered in open-channel flow. All flows are from left to right. 40

41 Numerical Solution of Surface Profile The prediction of the surface profile y(x) is an important part of the design of open-channel systems. A good starting point for the determination of the surface profile is the identification of the points along the channel, called the control points, at which the flow depth can be calculated from a knowledge of flow rate. Once flow depths at control points are available, the surface profile upstream or downstream is determined usually by numerical integration of the nonlinear differential equation The friction slope S f is determined from the uniform-flow conditions, and the Froude number from a relation appropriate for the channel cross section. 41

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46 13 8 RAPIDLY VARIED FLOW AND THE HYDRAULIC JUMP Rapidly varied flow occurs when there is a sudden change in flow, such as an abrupt change in cross section. Rapidly varied flows are typically complicated by the fact that they may involve significant multidimensional and transient effects, backflows, and flow separation. Therefore, rapidly varied flows are usually studied experimentally or numerically. It is still possible to analyze some rapidly varied flows using the onedimensional flow approximation with reasonable accuracy. When riding the rapids, a kayaker encounters several features of both gradually varied flow (GVF) and rapidly varied flow (RVF), with the latter being more exciting. 46

47 Schematic and flow depth-specific energy diagram for a hydraulic jump (specific energy decreases). 47

48 The fraction of energy dissipation ranges from just a few percent for weak hydraulic jumps (Fr 1 < 2) to 85 percent for strong jumps (Fr 1 > 9). The energy dissipation ratio represents the fraction of mechanical energy dissipated during a hydraulic jump. 48

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52 13 9 FLOW CONTROL AND MEASUREMENT The flow rate in pipes and ducts is controlled by various kinds of valves. Liquid flow in open channels, however, is not confined, and thus the flow rate is controlled by partially blocking the channel. This is done by either allowing the liquid to flow over the obstruction or under it. Weir: An obstruction that allows the liquid to flow over. Underflow gate: An obstruction with an adjustable opening at the bottom that allows the liquid to flow underneath it. Such devices can be used to control the flow rate through the channel as well as to measure it. 52

53 Underflow Gates Common types of underflow gates to control flow rate. Discharge coefficient, C d Schematic and flow depth-specific energy diagram for flow through underflow gates. 53

54 Discharge coefficients for drowned and free discharge from underflow gates. Most values of C d for free outflow from a vertical sluice gate range between 0.5 and 0.6. The C d values drop sharply for drowned outflow, and the flow rate decreases for the same upstream conditions. For a given value of y 1 /a, the value of C d decreases with increasing y 2 /a. 54

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56 Overflow Gates The one-dimensional energy equation for open-channel flow between upstream section 1 and downstream section 2: For a channel of constant width b: This diagram is extremely valuable as it shows the allowable states during flow. Once the upstream conditions at a flow section 1 are specified, the state of the liquid at any section 2 on an E s y diagram must fall on a point on the specific energy curve that passes through point 1. Variation of specific energy E s with depth y for a specified flow rate in a channel of constant width. 56

57 Flow over a Bump with Negligible Friction Schematic and flow depth-specific energy diagram for flow over a bump for subcritical and supercritical upstream flows. 57

58 Broad-Crested Weir The flow over a sufficiently high obstruction in an open channel is always critical. Such obstructions placed intentionally in an open channel to measure the flow rate are called weirs. Broad-crested weir: A rectangular block of height P w and length L w that has a horizontal crest over which critical flow occurs. Weir head, H: The upstream head above the top surface of the weir. Flow over a broad-crested weir. 58

59 Sharp-Crested Weirs A sharp-crested weir is a vertical plate placed in a channel that forces the liquid to flow through an opening to measure the flow rate. The type of the weir is characterized by the shape of the opening. A vertical thin plate with a straight top edge is referred to as rectangular weir since the cross section of the flow over it is rectangular; a weir with a triangular opening is referred to as a triangular weir; etc. Flow over a sharp-crested weir. 59

60 A triangular (or V- notch) sharp-crested weir plate geometry. The view is from downstream looking upstream. 60

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64 Summary CLASSIFICATION OF OPEN-CHANNEL FLOWS ü Uniform and Varied Flows ü Laminar and Turbulent Flows in Channels FROUDE NUMBER AND WAVE SPEED ü Speed of Surface Waves SPECIFIC ENERGY CONSERVATION OF MASS AND ENERGY EQUATIONS UNIFORM FLOW IN CHANNELS ü Critical Uniform Flow ü Superposition Method for Nonuniform Perimeters BEST HYDRAULIC CROSS SECTIONS ü Rectangular Channels, Trapezoidal Channels GRADUALLY VARIED FLOW ü Liquid Surface Profiles in Open Channels, y(x) ü Some Representative Surface Profiles ü Numerical Solution of Surface Profile RAPIDLY VARIED FLOW AND THE HYDRAULIC JUMP FLOW CONTROL AND MEASUREMENT ü Underflow Gates, Overflow Gates 64

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