Israel Devadason, Benjamin Praisy (2009-05). Contraction scour in compound channels with cohesive soil beds. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • Bridge scour, which is the removal of bed materials from near the bridge foundations, is observed to be the most predominant cause of bridge failures in the United States. Scour in cohesive soils is greatly different from scour in cohesionless soils owing to the differences in critical shear stresses, scour extents and the time taken to reach the maximum scour depth in the scour process. The present solutions available for the cohesionless soils cannot be applied to cohesive soils because of the above crucial reasons. Also, a compound channel model with main channel and flood plain arrangement represents more closely the field stream conditions rather than a simple rectangular prismatic model. In this study, a systematic investigation of the scour process due to flow contractions in a compound channel with cohesive soil bed is made by conducting a series of flume tests representing typical field conditions. The effect of the most crucial factors causing contraction scour namely flow velocity, depth of flow and the shape of the abutment is examined. Correction factors are developed for changes in flow geometries incorporating simulation results from the one dimensional flow simulation model HEC RAS. Most importantly, a methodology to predict the depth of the deepest scour hole and its location in the vicinity of the contraction structure is developed for compound channels through an extension of the presently available methodology to predict maximum scour depths in simple rectangular channels. A prediction method to identify the extent of the uniform scour depth is also developed. Finally, an investigation of precision of the proposed methodology has been carried out on the field data from a number of real life contraction scour cases. The results obtained from this study indicate that depth of flow and geometry of the contraction section significantly influence final scour depth in cohesive soils with deeper flows and harsh contractions resulting in increased scour depths. However, corrections for different contraction inlet skew angles and long contractions need to be further explored in future studies.

publication date

  • December 2007