Flow deceleration as a method of determining drag coefficients over roughened flat beds

Thompson, C., Amos, C.L., Lecouturier, M. and Jones, T.E.R. (2004) Flow deceleration as a method of determining drag coefficients over roughened flat beds Journal of Geophysical Research, 109, (C3), C03001-[12pp]. (doi:10.1029/2001JC001262).


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The drag coefficient (C D ) is a fundamental parameter in the determination of shear stress or the drag force between a fixed object and fluid moving over it. In natural settings, conventional methods of defining it are largely impractical and so either smooth-bed C D or constant values are used irrespective of bed roughness or flow strength. This paper deals with the determination of C D over naturally roughened beds. The work was carried out in two annular flumes of known, constant water mass. In an otherwise balanced system, flow deceleration is a manifestation of the total drag force exerted at the rigid boundaries (Newton's second law). The inversion of this relationship is used to yield the bed drag coefficients. The advantages of this method include its accurate use over rough and irregular beds, as shown by experiments over patchy and homogeneous gravel beds and over a wide range of Reynolds numbers. The value of C D was found to converge to the constant value of 3 × 10?3 determined by Sternberg [1968] at intermediate velocities, and a reduction in the drag coefficient occurred at high velocities. Results showed that patch spacing did not influence the shear stress value in the case of one-grain-thick gravel patches. A modification of the equipment for field use may give advantages where traditional methods fail due to difficulties in obtaining accurate velocity profile measurements.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1029/2001JC001262
ISSNs: 0148-0227 (print)
ePrint ID: 12582
Date :
Date Event
March 2004Published
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2004
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 23:52
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/12582

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