Hydrodynamic effects of debris blockage and scour on masonry bridges: Towards experimental modelling

M. Ebrahimi, P. Kripakaran, S. Djordjević, G. Tabor, R. Kahraman, D. M. Prodanović, S. Arthur

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Citations (Scopus)
121 Downloads (Pure)


This paper describes the preliminary stage of an ongoing project investigating the hydrodynamic effects of debris blockage at masonry bridges. Debris blockage is cited as one of the primary causes of bridge failures in the UK and around the world. Masonry bridges, many of which are valuable historical assets, are particularly vulnerable to debris blockage due to their short spans and low clearance. This paper presents work done as part of the first phase of the project involving experimental research to understand the scientific relationships between debris characteristics and flow conditions. The study, being carried out at Centre for Water Systems at University of Exeter, utilizes a 0.6 m-wide and 10 m-long flume to run hydraulic experiments in order to characterize the impact of debris blockage on flow hydrodynamics, scour, and hydrodynamic pressures and forces at masonry bridges. This paper outlines the design of the experimental setup and the reasoning behind the choices for preliminary experimental parameters. The experiments are to include testing of bridge models and various 3D-printed debris shapes under realistic flow conditions. Geometry of the bridge and debris models are kept approximately similar to prototype conditions, with hydraulic conditions of the experiments designed to the degree that experimental constraints allow based on Froude similarity. Velocities, scour and hydrodynamic pressures are measured using an Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter, echo-sounding concept and pressure sensors, respectively. Preliminary results indicate that the designed experiments have the potential to enhance our understanding of the hydrodynamic effects of debris blockage.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScour and Erosion
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 8th International Conference on Scour and Erosion
EditorsJohn Harris, Richard Whitehouse, Sarah Moxon
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781138029798
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering


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