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WHAT IS WEIRES A weir is an underwater dam created to reduce, but not stop the flow of water in a river or stream.

There are several different types of weirs. A weir may be a simple metal plate with a V-notch cut into it, or it may be a concrete and steel structure across the bed of a river. A weir that causes a large change of water level behind it, as compared to the error inherent in the depth measurement method, will give an accurate indication of the flow rate. Some weirs are used as bridges for people to walk along.

Labyrinth weir
A labyrinth weir uses a trapezoidal-shaped weir wall geometry (plan view) to increase the weir length. They are versatile structures and can be modified to fit many applications.

Broad-crested weir
A broad-crested weir is a flat-crested structure, with a long crest compared to the flow thickness.[4] When the crest is "broad", the streamlines become parallel to the crest invert and the pressure distribution above the crest is hydrostatic. The hydraulic characteristics of broad-crested weirs were studied during the 19th and 20th centuries. Practical experience showed that the weir overflow is affected by the upstream flow conditions and the weir.

Sharp crested weir (fayoum weir)

A sharp-crested weir allows the water to fall cleanly away from the weir. Sharp crested weirs are typically 1/4" [6.35 mm] or thinner metal plates. Sharp crested weirs come in many different shapes and style, such as Rectangular (with and without end contractions), V-notch and Cipolletti weirs. Under controlled conditions, sharp crested weirs can exhibit accuracies as good as +/-2%, although under field conditions accuracies greater than +/-5% should not be expected.] The crest of a sharp crested weir should be no thicker than 1/8" [3.1496 mm] to ensure that the nappe springs clear of the weir's crest. Where the weir plate is thicker than 1/8" [3.1496 mm], the downstream face of the weir must be beveled.[6]

Compound weir
The sharp crested weirs can be considered into three groups according to the geometry of weir: a) the rectangular weir, b) the V or triangular notch, and c) special notches, such as trapezoidal, circular, or parabolic weirs. For accurate flow measurement over a wider range of flow rates, a compound weir combines a one weir type with another - typically a V-notch weir with a rectangular weir.[7]

An example of the compound weir is manufactured by Thel-Mar Company.[8] These weirs are a combination of a V-notch weir and a rectangular weir and are available for insertion in pipes from 6" to 15" - with secondary adapters available for larger pipe sizes. The weirs are intended to measure no more than 35% of the pipe's open channel flow capacity.

V-notch weir
The V-notch weir is a triangular channel section, used to measure small discharge values. The upper edge of the section is always above the water level, and so the channel is always triangular simplifying calculation of the cross-sectional area. V-notch weirs are preferred for low discharges as the head above the weir crest is more sensitive to changes in flow compared to rectangular weirs, for example, theRehbock weir. Under laboratory conditions, V-notch weirs typically achieve accuracies of 2% to 5%, while field condition accuracies from 5% to 15% may be expected] V-notch weirs are sized between 22-1/2 and 120, with 22-1/2, 30, 45, 60, 90, and 120 the common size increments - although free-flow discharge equations can be developed from one universal equation for V-notch weirs from 25-120 in size]

Minimum Energy Loss weir

The concept of the Minimum Energy Loss (MEL) structure was developed by Gordon McKay in 1971.[11] The first MEL structure was the Redcliffe storm waterway system, also called Humpybong Creekdrainage outfall, completed in 1960 in the Redcliffe Peninsula in Queensland, Australia. It consisted of a MEL weir acting as a streamlined drop inlet followed by a 137 m long culvert discharging into the Pacific Ocean. The weir was designed to prevent beach sand being washed in and choking the culvert, as well as to prevent salt intrusion in Humpybong Creek without afflux. The structure is still in use and passed floods greater than the design flow in several instances without flooding (McKay 1970, Chanson 2007). The concept of the Minimum Energy Loss (MEL) weir was developed to pass large floods with minimum energy loss and afflux, and nearly-constant total head along the waterway. The flow in the approach channel is contracted through a streamlined chute and the channel width is minimum at the chute toe, just before impinging into the downstream natural channel. The inlet and chute are streamlined to avoid significant form losses and the flow may be critical from the inlet lip to the chute toe at design flow. MEL weirs were designed specifically for situations where the river catchment is characterized by torrential rainfalls and by very small bed slope. The first major MEL weir was the Clermont weir (Qld, Australia 1963), if the small control weir at the entrance of Redcliffe culvert is not counted. The largest, Chinchilla weir (Qld, Australia 1973), is listed as a "large dam" by the International Commission on Large Dams.