Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Turbulent open-channel flows with variable depth across the channel

Koji  Shiono a1 and Donald W.  Knight a2
a1 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Bradford, Bradford BD7 1DP, West Yorkshire, UK
a2 School of Civil Engineering, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK

Article author query
shiono k   [Google Scholar] 
knight dw   [Google Scholar] 


The flow of water in straight open channels with prismatic complex cross-sections is considered. Lateral distributions of depth-mean velocity and boundary shear stress are derived theoretically for channels of any shape, provided that the boundary geometry can be discretized into linear elements. The analytical model includes the effects of bed-generated turbulence, lateral shear turbulence and secondary flows. Experimental data from the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) Flood Channel Facility are used to illustrate the relative importance of these three effects on internal shear stresses. New experimental evidence concerning the spatial distribution of Reynolds stresses τyx and τzx is presented for the particular case of compound or two-stage channels. In such channels the vertical distributions of τzx are shown to be highly nonlinear in the regions of strongest lateral shear and the depth-averaged values of τyx are shown to be significantly different from the depth mean apparent shear stresses. The importance of secondary flows in the lateral shear layer region is therefore established. The influence of both Reynolds stresses and secondary flows on eddy viscosity values is quantified. A numerical study is undertaken of the lateral distributions of local friction factor and dimensionless eddy viscosity. The results of this study are then used in the analytical model to reproduce lateral distributions of depth-mean velocity and boundary shear stress in a two stage channel. The work will be of interest to engineers engaged in flood channel hydraulics and overbank flow in particular.

(Published Online April 26 2006)
(Received July 10 1989)
(Revised June 21 1990)