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Comparing flow resistance law for fixed and mobile bed rills

  • Autori: Di Stefano C.; Nicosia A.; Palmeri V.; Pampalone V.; Ferro V.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2019
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Rills caused by run-off concentration on erodible hillslopes have very irregular profiles and cross-section shapes. Rill erosion directly depends on the hydraulics of flow in the rills, which may differ greatly from hydraulics of flow in larger and regular channels. In this paper, a recently theoretically deduced rill flow resistance equation, based on a power–velocity profile, was tested experimentally on plots of varying slopes (ranging from 9% to 26%) in which mobile and fixed bed rills were incised. Initially, measurements of flow velocity, water depth, cross-section area, wetted perimeter, and bed slope, carried out in 320 reaches of mobile bed rills and in 165 reaches of fixed rills, were used for calibrating the theoretical flow resistance equation. Then the relationship between the velocity profile parameter Γ, the channel slope, and the flow Froude number was separately calibrated for the mobile bed rills and for the fixed ones. The measurements carried out in both conditions (fixed and mobile bed rills) confirmed that the Darcy–Weisbach friction factor can be accurately estimated using the proposed theoretical approach. For mobile bed rills, the data were supportive of the slope independence hypothesis of velocity, due to the feedback mechanism, stated by Govers. The feedback mechanism was able to produce quasicritical flow conditions. For fixed bed rills, obtained by fixing the rill channel, by a glue, at the end of the experimental run with a mobile bed rill, the slope independence of the flow velocity measurements was also detected. Therefore, an experimental run carried out by a rill bed fixed after modelling flow action is useful to detect the feedback mechanism. Finally, the analysis showed that, for the investigated conditions, the effect of sediment transport on the flow resistance law can be considered negligible respect to the grain roughness effect.