Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Wilkerson, Gregory


The distance required for flow entering a laboratory channel to become fully-developed and uniform can be substantial. Given the need to establish fully-developed uniform flow, if the length of a laboratory channel is not substantial then it likely that the flume cannot be used to conduct open-channel flow research. In laboratory studies where the channel bed is hydraulically rough, the noted problem can be lessened by minimizing the length over which the flow becomes fully-developed and uniform (Lunif). For this study it is hypothesized that if bed material with a roughness height (ks, ∆) is placed at the channel entrance and ks, ∆ is greater has the roughness height of bed material placed throughout the channel (ks, bed) then Lunif can be reduced. The length over which the larger bed material is referred to as the tripping zone length (∆). A second hypothesis for this study is that if ∆ is longer, then Lunif will be shorter. The primary objective of this study is to test the above mentioned hypothesis and to develop a relationship for predicting Lunif as a function of Δ. For this study, physical tests were performed in a rectangular Plexiglas flume with a variable slope. The flume was 6.1 m long, 45.7 cm wide, and 45.7 cm deep. The channel has smooth walls and the bed was lined with gravel (median particle size, d50 = 8.5 mm or 22 mm). Similarly tripping zone was lined with gravel of larger size (median particle size, d50 = 13 mm or 58 mm).Twelve tests were conducted for the study. For each test, longitudinal point velocity measurements (u) were made along the channel center, at five elevations (z), and at twelve longitudinal stations (x). An Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter was used to measure u. Lunif was determined by considering four indications of flow uniformity. Results indicate that having a tripping zone decreases Lunif and the magnitude of the decrease in Lunif was dependent on ∆. A function is presented for predicting Lunif /H = f (Rep, Fr, and Δ/H) where Rep is the Reynold's particle number, Fr is the Froude number and H is the flow depth.




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