Flume experiments for assessing the dye-tracing technique in rill flows

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Flow velocity controls hillslope soil erosion and is a key hydrodynamic variable involved in sediment transport and deposition processes. The dye-tracer technique is one of the most applied methods for measuring velocity of shallow interrill and rill flow. The technique is based on the injection of a tracer in a specific point and the measurement of its speed to travel the known distance from the injection point to a given channel section. The dye-tracer technique requires that the measured surface flow velocity has to be corrected to obtain the mean flow velocity using a correction factor which is generally empirically deduced. The technique has two sources of uncertainties: i) the method applied for measuring the travel time of the dye-tracer and ii) the estimate of the correction factor, which is the ratio between the mean flow velocity and the surface velocity, in different flow conditions. In this paper the results of a wide experimental investigation, carried out using a fixed bed small flume simulating a rill channel, are presented. At first, the comparison between a chronometer-based (CB) and video-based (VB) technique was carried out for establishing the influence of the travel time measuring technique. For each experimental run, which was characterized by a sample of 20 measurements carried out with the same values of slope and discharge, the developed analysis showed that the empirical frequency distribution of the ratio between the single measurement and the sample mean (i.e., the average of 20 measurements) is more uniform for the VB technique than for the CB one. In any case, this sample mean was representative of surface flow velocity for both the CB and the VB technique. Furthermore, the mean value obtained by the CB measurements lightly underestimated (−1.7%) the corresponding mean obtained by the VB technique. Finally, the effects of slope (0.1–8.7%), flow Reynolds number (3462–10040), Froude number (1.44–5.17) on the correction factor are presented. The analysis demonstrated that the correction factor is independent of flow Reynolds number while a relationship with a Froude number, obtained by surface velocity measurement, or channel slope can be established.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-9
Numero di pagine9
RivistaFlow Measurement and Instrumentation
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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  • ???subjectarea.asjc.3100.3105???
  • ???subjectarea.asjc.1700.1706???
  • ???subjectarea.asjc.2200.2208???


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