Flume tests for scour in clay at circular piers Academic Article uri icon


  • Local scour at circular piers founded on clay was studied experimentally in the laboratory to compare the depth of scour in sand and in clay and to investigate the effects of the Reynolds number Froude number and approach flow depth on scour depth. The depths of scour in front at the side and in the back of the piers were measured as a function of time under steady gradually varied flow conditions. The measured scour-depth-versus-time curves were fitted with a hyperbola to estimate the equilibrium scour depths. The extrapolated equilibrium scour depths were compared with values predicted by the Federal Highway Administration equation. The results showed that although the rates of scour were much slower in clay than in sand equilibrium scour in clay was about the same as in sand. It was found that the shape of the scour hole correlates with the pier Reynolds number. At low Reynolds numbers the depth of scour was about the same all around the piers. At higher Reynolds numbers the scour holes developed mainly behind the piers with much less scour in front of the piers. It was also found that the extrapolated equilibrium scour depth correlates well with the pier Reynolds number and that the Froude number and relative water depth did not have a significant effect on the scour depth for these experimental conditions.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Ting, F., Briaud, J. L., Chen, H. C., Gudavalli, R., Perugu, S., & Wei, G. S.

citation count

  • 48

complete list of authors

  • Ting, FCK||Briaud, JL||Chen, HC||Gudavalli, R||Perugu, S||Wei, GS

publication date

  • November 2001