Minimum Unit Stream Power and Fluvial Hydraulics

by Chih Ted Yang, (M.ASCE), Hydr. Engr.; U.S.Army Corps of Engrs., North Central Div., Chicago, Ill.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 7, Pg. 919-934

Document Type: Journal Paper


Fluvial hydraulics is complex because the velocity, slope, depth, and channel roughness are all subject to change. The unit stream power, defined as the rate of potential energy expenditure per unit weight of water, required to transport a given sediment load is sensitive to water depth when the sediment concentration is low. The interdependence between unit stream power and water depth decreases as sediment concentration increases. A computer program is used to generate different combinations of velocity, slope, depth, and unit stream power for a given sediment load. The generated unit stream power in the lower flow regime either has a clear minimum value at a particular depth or approaches a minimum value for a given sediment load. These agreements suggest that an alluvial channel in the lower flow regime adjusts its velocity, slope, depth, and roughness in such a manner that a given sediment load can be transported with the minimum amount of unit stream power.

Subject Headings: Sediment loads | Hydraulic roughness | Fluid velocity | Slopes | Load factors | Hydro power | Sediment transport | Alluvial channels

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