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Flow regimes in gaps within stands of flexible vegetation: laboratory flume simulations

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2011
JournalEnvironmental Fluid Mechanics
Number of pages18
Original languageEnglish


Analyses of results from laboratory flume experiments are presented in which flow within gaps in canopies of flexible, submerged aquatic vegetation simulations is investigated. The aims of the work are (a) to identify the different flow regimes that may be found within such gaps, using Morris’ classical definitions of skimming flow, wake interference flow and isolated roughness flow as a template, (b) to determine the parameter space in which those flow regimes are most consistently delineated, and (c) to provide quantitative measurements of the loci of each flow regime within that parameter space for these experiments. The sedimentary and biological implications of each flow regime are also discussed. The results show that five flow regimes may be identified, expanding on Morris’ original set of three. The five are: (i) skimming flow; (ii) recirculation flow; (iii) boundary layer recovery; (iv) canopy through-flow; and (v) isolated roughness flow, the last being assumed to occur in some cases though it is not directly observed in these experiments. A Reynolds number based on the canopy overflow speed and the gap depth, and the gap aspect ratio are found to be the key parameters that determine these flow regimes, though a Froude number is found to be important for determining bed shear stress, and the length of leaves overhanging the gap from the upstream canopy is found to be important in determining the location of flow recirculation cells within the gap.