Small-scale topographic features are commonly found on the boundaries of natural rivers, streams, and floodplains. A simple method for determining the form drag on these features is presented, and the results of this model are compared to laboratory measurements. The roughness elements are modeled as Gaussian-shaped features defined in terms of three parameters: a protrusion height, H; a streamwise length scale, ??; and a spacing between crests, ??. This shape is shown to be a good approximation to a wide variety of natural topographic bank features. The form drag on an individual roughness element embedded in a series of identical elements is determined using the drag coefficient of the individual element and a reference velocity that includes the effects of roughness elements further upstream. In addition to calculating the drag on each element, the model determines the spatially averaged total stress, skin friction stress, and roughness height of the boundary. The effects of bank roughness on patterns of velocity and boundary shear stress are determined by combining the form drag model with a channel flow model. The combined model shows that drag on small-scale topographic features substantially alters the near-bank flow field. These methods can be used to improve predictions of flow resistance in rivers and to form the basis for fully predictive (no empirically adjusted parameters) channel flow models. They also provide a foundation for calculating the near-bank boundary shear stress fields necessary for determining rates of sediment transport and lateral erosion.
Additional publication details
Form drag in rivers due to small-scale natural topographic features: 1. Regular sequences