Wall-Roughness Effects on Flow and Scouring in Curved Channels with Gravel Beds
Due to a complex three-dimensional flow pattern, the outer banks of river bends are predisposed to erosion. When endangering civil structures, preventing measures to mitigate this erosion are thus required. Vertical ribs at protection walls for scour reduction have been applied to several flood protection projects in mountain rivers; nevertheless, no systematic and intensive study has been presented so far to evaluate their effect. This paper investigates experimentally the effect of vertical ribs, placed as macroroughness elements on the outer vertical wall of a 90° laboratory channel bend. Systematic tests were performed using a wide and coarse grain-size distribution. Scour formation and velocity distribution were assessed in the channel in the presence of a macrorough outer bank, materialized in the laboratory by vertical elements placed on the outer vertical wall along the channel bend. Experiments showed that the macrorough outer bank changed considerably the bed morphology under equilibrium conditions. Maximum scour depth is considerably reduced by the vertical ribs placed at an optimal spacing on the bend outer wall. A considerable grain sorting process occurs across the cross section in the bend, which influences the scour process; differences are observed between situations with and without macrorough banks. The distribution of the time-averaged velocity field across the section shows the influence of the channel rough wall. An optimal macroroughness configuration in terms of scour reduction is discussed and proposed. It was observed that when spacing between vertical ribs is too reduced, these ribs act as uniformly distributed wall roughness, contributing to the width reduction due to the occupation of the cross section and increasing consequently the flow velocity with negative effects in scour reduction.