Characterization of near-bed coherent structures in turbulent open channel flow using synchronized high-speed video and hot-film measurements

M. García, F. López, Y. Niño

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High-speed video recordings (500 Hz) of flow visualizations in the near wall region of a turbulent open channel flow were synchronized with hot-film measurements of flow velocity and bed shear stress. Analysis of the video images provided information about the main characteristics of coherent flow structures associated with the occurrence of low-speed streak ejections near the bed. These structures consisted mainly of oscillating shear layers that were converted in the downstream direction and lifted away from the bed. A visual detection criterion was developed to obtain ensemble averaged profiles of the velocity and shear stress data during ejection events, allowing for the characterization of the associated flow field during the occurrence of coherent structures. Conditional averaging suggests that the occurrence of such coherent patterns affects mainly the turbulence structure in the wall region, and that the observed events reveal a plausible mechanism by which energy is extracted from the mean flow by large scale turbulent fluctuations, and then further transferred towards smaller eddies, while the structures lose their coherence. The intermittent nature of production and dissipation of turbulent energy becomes noticeable, taking place about 21% of the time. The results obtained also provide evidence that seems to link the structures responsible for the turbulent vertical transport of momentum, and for the maintenance of the turbulent state, with the mechanism that triggers the entrainment of sediment into suspension. Comparison of present results with other experiments conducted in different types of flows strongly confirms a universal structure of coherent events in wall bounded flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-28
Number of pages13
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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