Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. James F. Fox


This dissertation describes investigations of fully turbulent decelerating hydraulically roughbed flow over gravel and the development of technology to measure turbulence and associated sediment transport in streams. Theory is developed for predicting velocity distributions in simple uniform flow using the asymptotic invariance principle and tested using laboratory and field collected data. A mixed scale is developed that accounts for bed derived turbulent structures throughout the flows depth and is used to parameterize the external boundary’s effect on the flow for the logarithmic and outer layers. The asymptotic invariance principle and similarity analysis is conducted for the equations of motion in the outer region of decelerating flow over gravel to define equilibrium conditions for this class of flows with the velocity scale is the freestream velocity. The combination of time series and time averaged statistical analysis of turbulent flow is used to elucidate the structure of flow under decelerating conditions. Time averaged statistical measures of turbulence confirm results of others for higher Froude number approaching transcritical and time series analysis shows the effects of decelerating flow on turbulence to be frequency dependent. Wireless velocity sensors were developed and found capable of measuring time averaged velocity and able to resolve macroturbulence from time series data. A semi-theoretical model of elastic deformation of cantilever beams under hydraulic forcing was coupled with circuit theory to develop a calibration procedure for the VBS that requires only three measurement points, one of which is at zero velocity. Light based sensors are developed to estimate light attenuation in water for ecological research or estimating sediment concentration in water. A semi-theoretical scaling of light attenuation and sediment properties was developed which predicts light attenuation from sediment properties. The combination of new theory on open channel velocity, turbulent structure and field sensors for measuring turbulence and sediment offers the possibility to extend our laboratory knowledge to realistic flow situations.