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Compound channel flow with a longitudinal transition in hydraulic roughness over the floodplains

Abstract : Flows in a compound open-channel (two-stage geometry with a main channel and adjacent floodplains) with a longitudinal transition in roughness over the floodplains are experimentally investigated in an 18 m long and 3 m wide flume. Transitions from submerged dense vegetation (meadow) to emergent rigid vegetation (wood) and vice versa are modelled using plastic grass and vertical wooden cylinders. For a given roughness transition, the upstream discharge distribution between main channel and floodplain (called subsections) is also varied, keeping the total flow rate constant. The flows with a roughness transition are compared to flows with a uniformly distributed roughness over the whole length of the flume. Besides the influence of the downstream boundary condition, the longitudinal profiles of water depth are controlled by the upstream discharge distribution. The latter also strongly influences the magnitude of the lateral net mass exchanges between subsections, especially upstream from the roughness transition. Irrespective of flow conditions, the inflection point in the mean velocity profile across the mixing layer is always observed at the interface between subsections. The longitudinal velocity at the main channel/floodplain interface, denoted Uint, appeared to be a key parameter for characterising the flows. First, the mean velocity profiles across the mixing layer, normalised using Uint, are superimposed irrespective of downstream position, flow depth, floodplain roughness type and lateral mass transfers. However, the profiles of turbulence quantities do not coincide, indicating that the flows are not fully self-similar and that the eddy viscosity assumption is not valid in this case. Second, the depth-averaged turbulent intensities and Reynolds stresses, when scaled by the depth-averaged velocity Ud,int exhibit two plateau values, each related to a roughness type, meadow or wood. Lastly, the same results hold when scaling by Ud,int the depth-averaged lateral flux of momentum due to secondary currents. Turbulence production and magnitude of secondary currents are increased by the presence of emergent rigid elements over the floodplains. The autocorrelation functions show that the length of the coherent structures scales with the mixing layer width for all flow cases. It is suggested that coherent structures tend to a state where the magnitude of velocity fluctuations (of both horizontal vortices and secondary currents) and the spatial extension of the structures are in equilibrium.
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V. Dupuis, S. Proust, Céline Berni, André Paquier. Compound channel flow with a longitudinal transition in hydraulic roughness over the floodplains. Environmental Fluid Mechanics, Springer Verlag, 2017, 17 (5), pp.903-928. ⟨10.1007/s10652-017-9525-0⟩. ⟨hal-01807794⟩

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