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Hydraulics

Prof. B.S. Murty

39.1 Gradually Varied Unsteady Flow


Gradually varied unsteady flow occurs when the flow variables such as the flow depth
and velocity do not change rapidly in time and space. Such flows are very common in
rivers during floods and in canals during the period of slow variation in gate opening or
closure. Typically two flow variables, such as the flow depth and velocity or the
discharge and depth, define the flow conditions at a channel section. Two governing
equations, known as Saint Venant equations, are used to descrine the spatial and
temporal variation of the above two flow variables. These equations are based on the
application of conservation of mass and momentum principles to a stationary control
volume such as shown in Figure. 39.1.

39.2 Assumptions
Following assumptions are made in the derivation of the Saint Venant equations:

The pressure distribution in the vertical direction at any cross section is


hydrostatic.

The channel bottom slope is small.

The velocity is uniform within a cross section.

The channel is prismatic.

Steady state resistance laws are applicable under unsteady conditions.

There is no lateral inflow or outflow.

39.3 Derivation
Consider unsteady flow in a channel as shown in fig 39.1. Consider a control volume of
length x as shown in this figure.

Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Hydraulics

Prof. B.S. Murty

V1
A1
___
y1
y1

Water Surface
V1
A1
___
y1
y1

Flow

C.G
Bed

__
y

S0

x1

x2

Fig. 39.1: Definition sketch for derivation of St.Venant equations


The control volume in Fig. 39.1 has fixed boundaries. The Reynolds transport theorem
is applied to derive the continuity and momentum equations.

Continuity Equation
Based on the Reynolds transport theorem and treating water as an incompressible fluid,
Continuity equation for the control volume in Fig. 39.1 can be written as

d
dt

x2

Adx

+ A2V2 AV
1 1 =0

( 39.1)

x1

in which A = flow area, V = flow velocity and subscripts 1 and 2 indicate flow variables
at sections 1 and 2, respectively.
Application of Leibritz's theorem to the first term on the left hand side of the above
equation, followed by the application of mean value theorem yields

A
( x2 x1 ) + A2V2 AV
1 1 =0
t
It may be noted that both A and
Similarly, treating AV and

( 39.2 )

A
are assumed continous with respect to both x and t.
t

VA
as continous with respect to x and t, and letting
t
x = x2 x1 tend to zero, one can get

Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Hydraulics

Prof. B.S. Murty

A AV
+
=0
t
x

( 39.3)

Noting that flow rate, Q = AV.

A Q
+
=0
t x

( 39.4 )

Equation (39.4) is the continuity equation in the "Conservation form". For prismatic
channels in which the top width, T is a continous function of the flow depth, y, Eq. (39.4)
may be written as
dA y
Q
=0
+
dy t
x
or
T

y Q
+
=0
t x

( 39.5)
( 39.6 )

Substitution of Q = VA in Eq. 39.6 and subsequent simplification leads to

y A V
y
+ V =0
+
t T x
x

( 39.7 )

Momentum Equation
Based on the Reynolds transport theorem, momentum equation for the control volume
in fig. 39.1 can be written as
x

FRe s

d 2
= V A dx + V22 A2 V12 A1
dt x1

( 39.8)

in which FRe s = resultant force acting on the control volume in the direction of flow. As in
the case of continuity equation, application of Leibritz theorem and mean value theorem
to Eq. 39.8 leads to

( AV )
FRe s
=
+ ( AV 2 )
( x )
t
x

Noting that flow rate Q = AV,


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( 39.9 )

Hydraulics

Prof. B.S. Murty

FRe s
Q
=
+ ( QV )
( x ) t x

( 39.10 )

Resultant force FRe s on the control volume is evaluated as follows.

Channel is assumed to be prismatic. Therefore, forces do not arise due to


changes in cross section.

Waves set up by the wind action are not considered here. Therefore, shear
stress on the flow surface due to wind is neglected.

Open channel flows in canals, streams and rivers are considered. Flows in large
water bodies such as estuaries and oceans are not considered here. Therefore,
Coriolis forces are neglected.

Net force on Control volume comprises of

(i) pressure force at section - 1 (See Fig. 39.1), (ii) pressure force at section - 2, (iii)
Component of weight of water in the flow direction and (iv) the frictional force due to
shear between water and the channel sides and the channel bottom. These forces are
evaluated as follows.

Pressure forces at sections 1 & 2 are given by

F1 = gA1 y1

( 39.11) ,

y1 = depth to the centroid of area A1.

F2 = gA2 y 2

( 39.12 )

y 2 = depth to the centroid of area A2.

F1 acts in the positive x direction while F2 acts in the negative x direction.


Component of weight of water in the direction of flow =
x2

F3 = g AS0 dx
x1

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( 39.13)

Hydraulics

Prof. B.S. Murty

Frictional force
x2

( 39.14 )

= F4 = g AS f dx
x1

in which S0 = channel bottom slope and Sf = friction slope. Friction slope or the slope of
the energy gradient line to overcome friction may be estimated using any friction loss
equation such as the Manning equation. F3 acts in the positive x-direction while F4 acts
in the negative x-direction.

Substitution of equations for forces in Eq. (39.10) leads to

g A1 y1 A2 y 2
x

) + gA S
(

Sf ) =

Q
+ ( AV 2 )
t t

( 39.15)

Or

+ ( QV ) =
gAy + gA ( S0 S f
t t
x

( 39.16 )

Or

Q
+
QV + gAy = gA ( S0 S f )
t x

( 39.17 )

Equation (39.17) is the momentum equation in the conservation form. For any cross
section in which the top width, T is a continous function of flow depth, y

A y + y + Ty 2 -Ay

Ay = lim

y
0
y
y

( )

( 39.18)

Neglecting higher order terms,

Ay = A
y
and

y
y
= gA
gAy = g
Ay
x
y
x
x

( )

( )

Substitution of Eq. (39.20) in Eq. (39.17) leads to

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( 39.19 )
( 39.20 )

Hydraulics

Prof. B.S. Murty

Q
QV
y
+
+ gA
= gA ( S0 S f )
t
x
x

( 39.21)

Substitution of Q = AV into Eq. (39.21), subsequent expansion of terms, and further


simplification using continuity equation leads to

V
V
y
+ V
+ g
= g ( S0 S f )
t
x
x

( 39.22 )

Equation (39.22) is usually referred to as the "Dynamic Equation". In this equation, the
first term on the left hand side represents the local acceleration, the second term
represents the convective acceleration and the third term represents the pressure
gradient. The first term on the right hand side represents weight component (effect of
channel slope) while the second term represents the resistance effect due to shear
between the water and the channel surface. For steady, non-uniform flows, local
acceleration is zero and Eq. (39.22) reduces to

d V2
+ y = S0 S f

dx 2g

( 39.23) .

Substitution of Q = AV leads to

or
or
or

d Q2
+ y = S0 S f
2
dx A 2 g

2
Q dA dy
+
= S0 S f
gA 3 dx dx
dy Q 2T
= 1
= S0 S f
dx gA3
dy S0 S f
=
Q 2T
dx
1 3
gA

( 39.24 )

Equation (39.24) is nothing but equation for steady gradually varied flow when the
energy correction factor = 1 .

Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Hydraulics

Prof. B.S. Murty

For steady, uniform flows, local and convective acceleration are zero and the flow
depth, y does not vary with x. Therefore, Eq. (39.22) reduces to
S0 S f = 0

( 39.25 )

Flood routing problem is defined as: given (i) the channel characteristics (slope, shape
parameters, roughness coefficient) and (ii) the flood discharge or the stage hydrograph
at an upstream section, determine the flood discharge and the stage hydrographs at
any downstream section. This is same as solving for the temporal and spatial variations
of Q and y given the (i) channel characteristics, (ii) initial conditions (Q and y at all
points in the channel at t = 0) and (iii) Boundary condtions (Q or y variation at x = 0 for
all t).
Flood routing based on the solution of complete equations for mass and momentum
conservation (Eqs. 39.7 and 39.22) is termed as "Dynamic Routing".
Flood rating in which the first two terms (acceleration terms) on the left hand side of
Eqs. 39.22 are negelected is termed as "Zero-Inertia Routing".
Flood routing in which equations 39.7 and 39.25 are solved together is termed as
"Kinematic Wave Routing". Many times Zero - Inertia Routing and Kinematic Wave
Routing methods are adopted to avoid computational difficulties.

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