Free Surface Flow Computations by Characteristics

by Kathirithamby Sivaloganathan, Sr. Lect.; Dept.of Civ. Engrg., Lanchester Polytechnic, Coventry, England,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1978, Vol. 104, Issue 4, Pg. 543-556

Document Type: Journal Paper


A characteristic method that used specified distances and a net consisting of continuous forward characteristics and broken backward characteristics is introduced. Direct and iterative formulations of the method are presented. The method yields depth and velocity hydrographs at predetermined distances from which depths and velocities on a predetermined rectangular grid can be readily obtained. Accurate computations are possible by the use of either formulation. Computations using this method have been compared with computations using the iterative formulation of the characteristic grid method and agreement is observed to be very close. The distance steps used in this method need not be equal and may be chosen in such a manner as to deal most effectively with the particular channel geometry and spatial distribution of lateral inflows.

Subject Headings: Computing in civil engineering | Free surfaces | Overland flow | Free flow | Fluid velocity | Grid systems | Spatial distribution | Hydrographs

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