Experimental investigation of erosion processes downstream of block ramps in mild curved channels

  • Stefano Pagliara
  • Michele PalermoEmail author
  • Deep Roy
Original Article


Eco-friendly low-head river restoration structures such as block ramps are of paramount importance with regard to the control of sediment grade in rivers, particularly in the mountains. They also help in the stabilization of river bed and prevent damages due to excessive downstream erosion by dissipating flow energy. Although the hydraulic characteristics of block ramps in straight channels have been thoroughly studied, there are very less studies dealing with the analysis of scour mechanism downstream of block ramps in curved channels. In fact, to the authors’ best knowledge, there are no studies till date investigating the scour process downstream of block ramps in river bends, involving the effect of tailwater and ramp bed slope. Therefore, this study aims to analyze the hydraulic behaviour of block ramps placed at various positions on a curved channel incorporating the effects of the mentioned parameters. Furthermore, the equilibrium morphology of the resulting downstream scour has been analyzed and classified. A dedicated hydraulic model was constructed, and a large range of in situ hydraulic conditions were simulated. Tests were carried out varying ramp slope and locating the structure at different positions along the channel bend. Data analysis revealed that the scour morphology is essentially three-dimensional and depends on flow characteristics, tailwater level and slightly on its location. Finally, a useful design relationship was also developed to evaluate the maximum scour depth taking into consideration the effect of channel curvature and the tailwater level.


Block ramp Flow pattern River curvature Scour morphology 

List of symbols


Channel width


Size of bed material for which xx% is finer


Function of


Densimetric Froude number


Equivalent densimetric Froude number for curved channels


Gravitational acceleration


Reduced gravitational acceleration


Approach flow depth at ramp toe


Downstream tailwater depth


Scour length




Block ramp slope


Average approach flow velocity at the ramp toe


Longitudinal coordinate


Vertical coordinate


Maximum scour depth

zmax( t=2 h)

Maximum scour depth after 2 h from the beginning of the test

zmax( t=6 h)

Maximum scour depth after 6 h from the beginning of the test


Maximum ridge height


Non-dimensional scour depth in straight channels


Non-dimensional scour depth in curved channels


Radius of curvature of the channel


Location of the block ramp in the curved channel


ith non-dimensional group


Water density


Sediment density


Sediment non-uniformity parameter


ith re-arranged non-dimensional group



All authors equally set up the research, analyzed the results, and contributed to writing the paper. This research was funded by University of Pisa Research Project PRA_2018_35 “Approcci eco-sostenibili per i sistemi idrici e la riqualificazione del territorio in ambito urbano”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Energy, Systems, Territory and Construction Engineering (DESTEC)University of PisaPisaItaly

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