Journal article

Secondary Currents and Corresponding Surface Velocity Patterns in a Turbulent Open-Channel Flow over a Rough Bed

River and open-channel flows present complex three-dimensional (3D) structures in the water column and on the surface as a result of the existence of secondary currents driven by either centrifugal force or turbulence. This paper experimentally investigates secondary currents in a straight, turbulent, rough-bed open-channel flow; the effect of different channel width to flow depth ratios (12.25, 15, and 20) on secondary currents; and surface boils associated with secondary currents at moderate Reynolds numbers. Nearly instantaneous profiles of three components of flow velocity and turbulence characteristics in the water column were measured by using an acoustic Doppler velocity profiler (ADVP). Simultaneously, large-scale particle image velocimetry was used to measure the water surface velocities and turbulence structures. Mean velocity patterns in the water undulate across the channel, indicating the presence of secondary currents in the long-term average flow structure. Secondary currents affect the distribution of bed shear stress, Reynolds stress, and turbulence intensities across the channel. The aspect ratio determines the number of secondary cells in the water column. A mean multiband undulating surface velocity pattern in the transverse direction correlates with the secondary cell distribution in the water column below. The instantaneous position of the upwelling and downwelling regions on the surface may deviate from their long-term mean position, indicating a meandering of the surface pattern. Vortex structures are detected from instantaneous surface velocity maps, and vortex boil lines are identified. Boil vortices mainly occur in upwelling areas with high vorticity. The simultaneous detailed velocity measurements in the water column and on the free surface have shown a good agreement between the secondary cell patterns obtained by the two methods. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)HY.1943-7900.0000438. (C) 2011 American Society of Civil Engineers.


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