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# OPEN CHANNEL FLOW

## Open-channel flow must have a free surface,

whereas pipe flow has none. A free surface is
subject to atmospheric pressure.
The flow therefore always takes place due to the
fact that the canal is at a slope and a component
of the weight of the liquid causes the foreward
motion .
Physical conditions in open-channels vary much
more than in pipes.
Flow conditions in open channels are
complicated by the position of the free surface
which will change with time and space.
Comparison between open channel and
pipe flow
Pipe flow Open channel flow
Flow driven by Pressure work Gravity (potential
energy)
Flow cross section Known ,fixed Unknown in advance
because flow depth is
unknown
Characteristics flow
parameters
Velocity deduced from
continuity
Flow depth deduced
from continuity and
momentum equations
Specific boundary
conditions
Atmospheric pressure
at the free surface
Properties of Open Channels
Artificial channels -These are man made e.g.
,drainage ditches, culverts.
Usually constructed in regular shape throughout,
and has reasonably defined roughness.
Constructed of concrete ,steel or earth.
Natural channels- not regular in shape and
usually constructed of earth and the surface
roughness coefficient varies.
Affected by erosion and deposition of sediments.
Flow Classification
The flow in an open channel is classified
according to the change in the depth of flow with
respect to space and time.
Uniform - if the depth of flow remains the same
at every section of the channel.
Non-uniform flow- the depth changes along the
length of the channel.
Steady uniform flow -Depth is constant both
with time and distance.
Steady non uniform flow -Depth varies with
distance, but not with time.
Unsteady flow -Depth varies with both time and
distance.
Gradually varied and Rapidly Varied Flow
When the change in the depth occurs abruptly over a short
distance, it is a Rapidly Varied Flow (RVF).
Varied Flow (GVF.
Geometric properties of Open Channels
To determine the flow in a canal the shape
and size of the canal are important:
Rectangular.
Triangular.
Trapezoidal.
Semi Circular.
To compare different canal sections, the
depth are used.
Geometric Properties of Open Channels
Depth (y)-the vertical distance of the lowest
point of a channel section from the free surface.
Stage (h)- the vertical distance of the free
surface from an arbitrary datum.
Area (A)- the cross sectional area of flow normal
to the direction of flow.
Wetted perimeter (P)- the length of the wetted
surface measured normal to the direction of flow.
Surface width (B) -the width of the channel
section at the free surface.
Hydraulic radius (R)-the ratio of the wetted
area to the wetted perimeter (A/P).
Hydraulic mean depth (D
m
)-the ratio of the
area to the surface width (A/B)
Hydraulic Sections
To minimize the quantity of material
required max hydraulic radius should be
used.
Semi-circle is the most effective but
difficult to construct freshly placed
concrete tend to slide down the sides
Trapezoidal channels are efficient
especially for greater discharges.
Rectangular channels can be used where
space is not limited.
Rectangular section
Trapezoidal Section
Channel free board
The channel free board is necessary to prevent
overtopping due to waves or variations in water level.
Free board variation of 10 -30% of the normal flow depth
is acceptable.
Channel depth (m) Free board height (mm)
<0,25 50
0,25-0,4 75
0,4-0,65 100
0,65-0,9 125
>0,9 150
Fundamental equations
Equations which describe the flow of a fluid are
derived from three fundamental laws of physics
Conservation of matter (mass)
Conservation of energy
Conservation of momentum
Laminar and Turbulent flow
For channels the Reynolds number is
Where: V-velocity of flow
-dynamic viscosity
-fluid density
Re
(channel)
<500 flow is laminar
Re
(channel)
>1000 flow is turbulent

RV
Re
Elements of Channel Section
The channel bottom should have a slope in the
direction of flow
The Chezys formula
Chezy's formula can be derived by equating the
propulsive force due to the weight of the water in the
direction of flow with the retarding shear force at the
channel boundary.
The Chezy equation
Shear force is proportional to velocity squared
Substitute into
Then
C-Chezy coefficient
2
kV
o

o
RS
k
g
V

o
RS C V
The Mannings formula
In terms of velocity (V)
In terms of discharge
So- channel bed slope
n-Mannings roughness coefficient
A-Cross sectional area
n
S R
V
2
1
0
3
2

2
1
3
2
1
o
S AR
n
Q
Typical Values of Mannings n
Channel Type Surface material
& alignment
Mannings n
River Earth, straight
Earth meandering
Gravel(75-
150mm) straight
0.02-0.025
0.03-0.05
0.03-0.04
Unlined canals Earth, straight
Rock, straight
0.018-0.025
0.025-0.045
Lined canals
Models
Concrete
Mortar
Perspex
0.012-0.017
0.011-0.013
0.009
Examples
A trapezoidal concrete lined channel with
uniform flow of water has a normal depth of 2 m.
The base width is 5 m has equal side slopes at
1:2.The channel bed slope is 0,001 and
Mannings n =0,015. Dynamic viscosity of water
is 1,14 x 10
-3
kg/m.s. Calculate the
(a) Discharge
(b) Mean velocity
(c) Reynolds number
If the discharge in the channel given above is 30
m
3
/s.Find the normal depth of flow.
Example
Determine the hydraulic radius of a trapezoidal canal
with the following dimensions. Bottom width 2,5 m,
sloping sides 2,4m at 45
o
to the horizontal with a flow
depth of 1,5 m.
Example
Determine the flow depth and average flow
velocities for a concrete channel with slope 1:2
500 changing to 1: 3 000. Assume a Mannings
n=0,0017.The channel is rectangular with base
width of 3 m and must be able to handle a flow
rate of 2 m
3
/s.
Compound Channels Example
If the channel above was to be designed for
flooding it might have a trapezoidal channel and
then flood plains so that it carries more
discharge.
During flooding the water level in the channel
given above exceeds the bank full-level of 2,5 m.
The flood banks are 10 m wide and are grassed
with side slopes of 1:3. The estimated Mannings
n for the flood banks is 0,035. Estimate the
discharge for a maximum flood level of 4 m.
Example on Erodible Channels
Determine the floor width (b) and safe flow depth
(y) of a trapezoidal spillway with a floor slope of
0.0016 and a flow rate of 7.750 m
3
/h.The
spillway is built in sandy loam soils.
The n value of a trapezoidal channel in a sandy
soil weakens from 0.025 to 0.3 as a result of bad
maintenance (no weed control). The channel
was initially designed to handle a flow rate of
2m
3
/s.Channel slope is 1:2 500. Determine the
reduction in flow rate with the new n-value.
Open Channel Flow
SPECIFIC ENERGY
If water flows in a canal at a depth y and
average velocity v, the specific energy is
This is the energy of the liquid in relation to the
bottom of a canal
g
V
y E
2
2

Specific energy
E
1
= E
2
= E
3
If the canal width remains constant
Q = AV = By
1
V
1
= By
2
V
2
1
1
By
Q
V
and
2
2
By
Q
V
g
V
y
g
V
y
g
V
y
2 2 2
2
2
3
2
2
2
2
1
1

Specific energy
If q = Q/B is the flow rate per unit width
then
1
1
y
q
V
2
2
y
q
V
2
2
2
2
1
2
1
2
2
gy
q
y
gy
q
y
0
2
2
2 3

g
q
Ey y
Specific Energy
For a certain flow there are two depths at
which the water can flow
Consider a canal with a sluice gate
Before the gate water flows slowly with a
large depth y
1
(Sub critical) and after
sluice flow is fast with a small depth y
2
(supercritical) but the specific energy is the
same
Specific Energy
Energy before sluice is stored as
potential and after sluice is mainly
Kinetic
Critical depth can be determined by
differentiating
g
V
y E
2
2

Froude Number
A dimensionless ratio of the inertia forces
to the gravitational force
Fr determine the velocity of the surface
wave
Fr>1 supercritical
Fr=1 critical
Fr<1 subcritical.
c
gy
V
Fr
The Hydraulic Jump
It is the change from shooting flow to tranquil
flow which occurs abruptly.
This is due to change in slope from being very
steep (high velocity) to gentle which destroys
the high velocity and water moves slower at a
greater depth.
It occurs when a supercrtical flow meets a
subcritical flow.
The resulting flow transition is rapid and involves
large energy loss due to turbulence.
The Hydraulic Jump
The Hydraulic Jump
The depth of flow before the jump
Depth of flow after the jump
Head or Energy loss due to the jump
) 1 8 1 (
2
2
1
2
1
Fr
h
h
) 1 8 1 (
2
2
1
1
2
Fr
h
h
2 1
3
1 2
4
) (
h h
h h
E

Head losses in a hydraulic Jump
The loss of mechanical energy that takes
place in a hydraulic jump may be readily
determined from the energy equation.
Velocity after a Hydraulic Jump
Length of a Hydraulic Jump
Example
Water flows in a nearly horizontal canal at a
velocity of 17m/s and a depth of 300mm.