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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Large smooth cylindrical elements located in a rectangular channel : upstream hydraulic conditions and drag force evaluation Turcotte, Benoit


Classical approaches to evaluate the stability of large woody debris (LWD) introduced in streams for habitat restoration or flood management purposes are usually based on inappropriate assumptions and hydraulic equations. Results suggest that the physics of small cylindrical elements located in large channels cannot be transferred to the case of a large roughness elements placed in small channels. The introduction of LWD in a small channel can generate a significant modification of the upstream hydraulic conditions. This modification has direct implications on the stability of the LWD. Experiments were performed in a controlled environment: a small stream section was represented by a low roughness rectangular flume and LWD were modeled with smooth PVC cylinders. Direct force measurements were performed with a load cell and results were used to identify an equation that evaluates the drag force acting on a large cylindrical element place in a rectangular channel. This equation does not depend on a drag coefficient. Water depths were also measured during the experiments and results were used to develop an approach that evaluates the upstream hydraulic impacts of a large cylinder introduced in a rectangular channel. The effect of the variation of the unit discharge (discharge per unit of width), cylinder size, cylinder elevation from the channel bed, and downstream hydraulic conditions, could be related to the upstream hydraulic conditions with relative success. Dimensionless parameters were developed to increase the versatility of the approach. The application of this approach to field cases is expected to require adjustments, mainly because of the roughness of natural environments differs from the smoothness of the controlled environment described in this work.

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