Turbulent structures, integral length scale and turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation rate in compound channel flow

Ricardo Azevedo, Luís R. Roja-Solórzano, João Bento Leal

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15 Citations (Scopus)


In the present study, high data rate measurements were obtained for the streamwise and vertical velocity components using 2D Laser Doppler Velocimeter. The turbulent field in a straight compound-channel flow was characterized for three different uniform flow water depths, corresponding to “deep flows”, “intermediate flows” and “shallow flows” conditions. Several methodologies were studied to process the data and to obtain autocorrelation functions, integral length scale and turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation rate. The Sample and Hold method was adopted to interpolate the unevenly spaced record and calculate the autocorrelation function; the integral-stop-value 1/e was used to estimate the integral length scale; and the TKE dissipation rate was estimated through the velocity energy spectrum. A double shear layer composed of two counter-rotating vertical oriented vortices, interacting with the secondary currents, is observed in the interface region for deep flow conditions. By decreasing the water depth, the interface region becomes dominated by a strong mixing layer of vertical oriented vortices with high TKE dissipation rate and large integral length scale, acting as a vertical wall to the weak secondary currents that develop at the main channel. The determination of the integral length scale permits to confirm the existence and the strength of these turbulence structures, unveiling the strong mixing layer as the origin of the largest integral length scales, even larger than the flow depth, and as the most efficient mechanism to redistribute turbulence generated at the bottom towards upper flow regions. Despite the high complexity of turbulence structures present in the flow, for all water depths, a linear dependence is depicted between integral length scale, TKE dissipation rate, and streamwise turbulence intensity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-19
Number of pages10
JournalFlow Measurement and Instrumentation
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Compound channel flow
  • Integral length scale
  • TKE dissipation rate
  • Turbulence intensity


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