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  • Special Column on the 2nd International Symposium of Water Disaster Mitigation and Water Environment Regulation (Guest Editor Hang Wang)
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Energy dissipation on stepped spillways and hydraulic challenges—Prototype and laboratory experiences

Abstract

Stepped cascades, chutes and spillways have been in use for more than three millennia. With the introduction of new construction materials and techniques, the staircase chute design has regained some interest within the last forty years. The stepped invert increases significantly the energy dissipation occurring above the steep chute and reduces the size of the required downstream stilling structure. The application of stepped chutes further encompasses in-stream re-aeration and water treatment plant cascades, to enhance the air-water transfer of atmospheric gases and of volatile organic components. However, the engineering design of stepped spillways is not simple because of the hydrodynamic challenges, with several markedly different flow regimes, some complicated two-phase air-water fluid dynamics and massive rate of energy dissipation above the stepped chute. Simply, the technical challenges in the hydraulic design of stepped spillways are massive. This review paper examines the hydraulic characteristics of stepped chute flows and develops a reflection on nearly three decades of active hydraulic research, including recent field measurements during major flood events. The author aims to share his passion for the complicated hydraulic engineering, as well as some advice for engineering professionals and researchers.

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Acknowledgements

The author wishes to acknowledge the exchanges with and contributions of many individuals, including numerous undergraduate research students, his Masters research students (G. Carosi, S. Felder, P. Guenther, D. Wűthrich and Y. Arosquipa Nina), his Ph. D. Candidates (L. Toombes, C. Gonzalez, S. Felder, H. Wang, G. Zhang and R. Shi), and many research collaborators and friends (F. Bombardelli, D. Bung, J. Matos, I. Ohtsu, M. Takahashi, D. Valero, D. Wűthrich and Y. Yasuda). The present manuscript derives from a plenary presentation at the 2nd International Symposium of Water Disaster Mitigation and Water Environment Regulation[84], and the encouragements of Prof. Hang Wang (Sichuan University) are acknowledged. The financial support of the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Queensland (Australia) is acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Hubert Chanson.

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Hubert Chanson (1961-), Ph. D., Professor

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Chanson, H. Energy dissipation on stepped spillways and hydraulic challenges—Prototype and laboratory experiences. J Hydrodyn 34, 52–62 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42241-022-0005-8

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Key words

  • Stepped spillways
  • hydraulic modeling
  • field measurements
  • energy dissipation and design
  • multiphase air-water flows