Experimental study of sediment transport and culvert capacity



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Sediment Transport has been a concern to hydraulic engineers for at least the past 200 years. Design methods for conveyance of clear water through culvert systems can be found as far back as the Roman aqua-ducts and the Ming dynasty. There have been few studies performed on the conveyance of water and solids in culverts. Recent studies have started addressing the ability of culverts to pass solids, in response to a need to provide fish passage, and structure serviceability. This research presented physical modeling to study the interaction of sediment migration and culvert systems. The research conducted was performed in a laboratory, collecting data in an open flume at discharge rates between 12 and 16 cfs. Sediment particles were observed and digitally recorded during the sediment movement in the experimental channel. Velocity profiles near the structure were obtained and analyzed. Solids mass movement were measured. The results support the conclusions that larger open areas convey more sediment solids, flow patterns around structures are less affected by larger open areas, and culvert outlet control has the greatest influence on solids transport through culverts. Furthermore, the results are presented and interpreted to show why common sediment transport equations developed in uniform flows are not applicable for the culvert systems under outlet control.