Unit Stream Power and Sediment Transport

by Chih Ted Yang, Assoc. Prof. Sci.; Illinois State Water Survey adn Water Resources Center of Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1972, Vol. 98, Issue 10, Pg. 1805-1826

Document Type: Journal Paper


A thorough study of the existing applicable data reveals the basic reason that previous equations often provide misleading predictions of the sediment transport rates. The error stems from the unrealistic assumptions made in their derivations. Unit stream power, defined as the time rate of potential energy expenditure per unit weight of water in an alluvial channel, is shown to dominate the total sediment concentration. Statistical analyses of 1,225 sets of laboratory flume data and 50 sets of field data indicate the existence and the generality of the linear relationship between the logarithm of total sediment concentration and the logarithm of the effective unit stream power. The coefficients in the proposed equation are shown to be related to particle size and water depth, or particle size and width-depth ratio. An equation generalized from Gilbert's data can be applied to natural streams for the prediction of total sediment discharge with good accuracy.

Subject Headings: Sediment transport | Hydrologic data | Hydro power | Alluvial channels | Linear analysis | Particle size distribution | Transport rates | Stream channels

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