Quantitative Spatio-Temporal Characterization of Scour at the Base of a Cylinder

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The measurement of the morphologic characteristics of evolving sediment beds around hydraulic structures is crucial for the understanding of the physical processes that drive scour. Although there has been significant progress towards the experimental characterization of the flow field in setups with complex geometries, little has been done with respect to the quantitative investigation of dynamic sediment bed geometry, mainly due to the limited capabilities of conventional instrumentation. Here, a recently developed computer vision technique is applied to obtain high-resolution topographic measurements of the evolving bed at the base of a cylinder during clear water scour, without interrupting the experiment. The topographic data is processed to derive the morphologic characteristics of the bed such as the excavated volume and the slopes of the bed. Subsequently, the rates of scour and the bathymetry at multiple locations are statistically investigated. The results of this investigation are compared with existing flow measurements from previous studies to describe the physical processes that take place inside a developing scour hole. Two distinct temporal phases (initial and development) as well as three spatial regions (front, side and wake) are defined and expressions for the statistical modelling of the bed features are derived.



bridge pier, local scour, bridge hydraulics, physical modeling, sediment transport


Bouratsis, P.; Diplas, P.; Dancey, C.L.; Apsilidis, N. Quantitative Spatio-Temporal Characterization of Scour at the Base of a Cylinder. Water 2017, 9, 227.