American Society of Civil Engineers


Supercritical Flow Measurement Using a Small Parshall Flume


by Christopher I. Thornton, (Assistant Professor, Hydraulic Laboratory Director, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Engineering Research Center, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523. E-mail: thornton@engr.colostate.edu), Brian A. Smith, (Hydraulic Engineer, Anderson Consulting Engineers, Inc., 772 Whalers Way, Suite 200, Fort Collins, CO 80525. E-mail: mail@acewater.com), Steven R. Abt, (corresponding author), (Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Engineering Research Center, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523 E-mail: sabt@engr.colostate.edu), and Michael D. Robeson, (Research Associate, Hydraulic Laboratory Manager, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Engineering Research Center, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523. E-mail: mrobeson@engr.colostate.edu)

Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, Vol. 135, No. 5, September/October 2009, pp. 683-692, (doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)IR.1943-4774.0000014)

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Document type: Technical Note
Abstract: An experimental program was conducted to determine if a Parshall flume, developed to accurately measure open-channel subcritical flow, could also be used to measure discharge in a supercritical flow regime. Fifteen experimental configurations were tested using two small Parshall flumes [6-in. (15.2-cm) and 9-in. (22.9-cm) crest width] with varying approach channel slopes, approach channel roughness, and flume convergence. It was determined that a single Parshall flume can be used to measure flow (within ±5%) for both supercritical and subcritical flow regimes for a specified range of flows. The original Parshall flume equation was then modified to incorporate crest width, channel slope, channel roughness, and convergence in the prediction algorithm. Unique expressions were developed for both supercritical and subcritical flow regimes to estimate the discharge. A single expression does not appear feasible for accurate discharge measurement for both flow regimes in a Parshall flume at this time.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Critical flow
Flumes
Flow measurement
Water pipelines