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Statler College of Engineering and Mining Resources


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Bridge pier scour is one of the main causes of bridge failure and a major factor that contributes to the total construction and maintenance costs of bridge. Recently, because of unexpected high water during extreme hydrologic events, the resilience and security of hydraulic infrastructure with respect to the scour protection measure along a river reach has become a more immediate topic for river engineering society. Although numerous studies have been conducted to suggest pier scour estimation formulas, understanding of turbulence characteristics which is dominant driver of sediment transport around a pier foundation is still questionable. Thus, to understand near bed turbulence characteristics and resulting sediment transport around a pier, hydraulic laboratory experiments were conducted in a prismatic rectangular flume using scale-down bridge pier models. Three-dimensional velocities and turbulent intensities before and after scour were measured with Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV), and the results were compared/analyzed using the best available tools and current knowledge gained from recent studies. The results show that the mean flow variable is not enough to explain complex turbulent flow field around the pier leading to the maximum scour because of unsteady flows. Furthermore, results of quadrant analysis of velocity measurements just upstream of the pier in the horseshoe vortex region show significant differences before and after scour.

Source Citation

Lee, S. O., & Hong, S. H. (2019). Turbulence Characteristics before and after Scour Upstream of a Scaled-Down Bridge Pier Model. Water, 11(9), 1900.


© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


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