Scour monitoring via turbulent open channel flow

M. Fisher, A. Khan, S. Atamturktur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Scour is the leading cause of bridge failure in the United States. It can result in the loss of lives and costs millions to repair the damage. A novel method is proposed for monitoring scour that exploits the turbulence in natural channels. The method utilizes the dynamic pressure associated with the turbulent velocity fluctuations in the flow to excite a flexible plate. A semi-empirical model is developed to describe the interaction of turbulent open channel flow with the plate. The model describes the variation of turbulent velocity fluctuations across the flow depth in an open channel resulting in a method for determining the average dynamic pressure on the flexible plate. The dynamic response of the plate is then modeled by superimposing the response of multiple modes of the disk to the random, turbulent dynamic pressure spectrum. The model is verified considering the pressure integration across the plate surface to ensure converged solutions. Due to the uncertainties in the material properties of the plate, the experimentally determined natural frequencies and vibration measurements are used to calibrate the model. The calibrated model predictions are then compared against an independent dataset for validation. In addition to describing the physical operation of the device, the semi-empirical model is also employed to optimize the field device. Measurements made using the field device also confirmed the model results, even in a non-design, misaligned flow condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number085602
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


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