The measurement of the total sediment load transported by streams that flow in alluvial channels has been a perplexing problem to engineers and geologists for over a century. Until the last decade the development of equipment to measure bed load and suspended load was carried on almost independently, and without primary consideration of the fundamental laws governing the transportation of fluvial sediments. French investigators during the nineteenth century described methods of measurement and a mathematical approach for computing the rate of bed-load movement. The comprehensive laboratory investigations by Gilbert early in this century provided data that are still being used for studies of sediment transport. Detailed laboratory investigations of bed-load movement conducted during the last two decades by a number of investigators have resulted in the development of additional mathematical formulas for computing rates of bed-load movement. Likewise, studies of turbulent flow have provided the turbulence suspension theory for suspended sediment as it is known today.
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The measurement of total sediment load in alluvial streams
Proceedings of the fifth Hydraulics Conference, June 9-11, 1952, arranged by the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research (Studies in Engineering 34)