The behaviour of meandering channels in flood
This study had three primary aims. Firstly, to establish the flow resistance characteristics of meandering channels in flood with different inner channel sinuosities and morphology. Secondly, to gain a better understanding of the coherent flow structures and energy loss mechanisms present within such
flows. Third, to establish a link between the identified energy loss mechanisms and the flow resistance behaviour of channels with different geometry. The study begins with a review of current literature appertaining to three flow systems. These were; Inbank flow through meandering channels, overbank
flow through channels comprising a straight channel with straight parallel floodplains, and meandering channels with floodplain flow. The available literature with regards to flooded meandering channels was limited to a handful of studies. It was clear there existed a deficiency in stage-discharge data over a range of inner channel sinuosities, and the flow descriptions given were limited to inner channels of relatively low sinuosity i.e. 1.25 - 1.3, rectangular or trapezoidal cross-section and unrealistically low width to depth
(aspect) ratio. In addition, the influence of roughened floodplains also required further study. To address these needs, a small-scale laboratory investigation was undertaken at Aberdeen, together with a large-scale collaborative experimental
study centred at the SERC Flood Channel Facility. These two experimental studies, in which two inner channels of sinuosity 1.4 and 2 were investigated in detail, are described. The experimental techniques and data collection procedures used are also described. The data types collected include: stage- discharge data, flow visualisation, flow velocity measurement, water surface profiles and bed shear stress analysis using an erodible bed.
The stage-discharge data were used for the following; to establish the
relationship between inner channel sinuosity and overall channel flow
resistance; to establish the effect of inner channel morphology on overall
channel resistance: and to assess the implications of roughened floodplains on
resistance behaviour. The analysis of these data, together with existing related
overbank data, yielded a number of conclusions; i). Overall flow resistance
increases as inner channel sinuosity increases, ii). At deep floodplain flows, a
floodplain comprising a trapezoidal inner channel was less efficient than one
comprising a smaller natural inner channel, iii). Roughening the floodplains
has a significant effect on channel resistance characteristics.
The flow description data, of overbank flow, revealed the presence of
coherent flow structures in flows over inner channels of sinuosity 1.4 and 2,
and at a number of flow depths. It is suggested these coherent flow structures
are a source of additional energy loss, and a link is proposed between the vigour
and frequency of these structures for several flow conditions and channel
geometries, and the overall resistance behaviour.
Contour maps of water surface elevation are presented for several flow
conditions and channel geometries. An increase in surface relief was observed
as floodplain depth, and therefore velocity, increased. These maps and earlier
related work were then discussed.
Plots of near bed velocities, secondary circulation patterns and erodible
bed observations strongly indicated a change in sediment erosion and
deposition patterns, and thus a change in inner channel morphology during
overbank flow. Implications of this change are proposed and discussed.
Finally, suggestions for future work are presented. with particular
emphasis on a 3-dimensional numerical model presently under development at
the University of Aberdeen.