Double averaged open channel flows with small relative submergence

C. Manes, Dubravka Pokrajac, Ian Kenneth McEwan

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98 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the turbulent structure of shallow open channel flows where the flow depth is too small (compared with the roughness height) to form a logarithmic layer but large enough to develop an outer layer where the flow is not directly influenced by the roughness elements. Since the log layer is not present, the displacement height d, which defines the position of the zero plane, and the shear velocity u(*) cannot be found by fitting the velocity data to the log law. However, these parameters are still very important because they are used for scaling flow statistics for the outer and roughness layers. In this paper we propose an alternative procedure for evaluating d in laboratory conditions, where d is found from additional experiments with the fully developed log layer. We also point out the appropriate procedure for evaluating the shear velocity u(*) for flows with low submergence. These procedures are applied to our own laboratory flume experiments with uniform sphere roughness, where velocities were measured using Particle Image Velocimetry. Results were interpreted within the framework of the double-averaged Navier-Stokes equations and include mean velocities, turbulence intensities, Reynolds stresses, and form-induced normal and shear stresses. The data collapse well and show that in flows without a developed log layer the structure of turbulence in the outer layer remains similar to that of flows with a log layer. This means that even though the roughness layer in the experiments reported herein was sufficiently high to prevent the development of the log layer, influence of the bed roughness did not spread further up into the outer layer. Furthermore, the results show that flow statistics do not depend on relative submergence except for the form-induced stresses which increase when relative submergence decreases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-904
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hydraulic Engineering
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


  • rough-bed
  • vegetation
  • resistance
  • layer


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