Estimation of time development of local scour around rectangular bridge pier in an unsteady flow condition

Document Type : Research Article


1 Assistant Professor of Hydraulic Engineering in Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University

2 Department of civil and environmental engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology


Local scour around bridge pier is a major factor of bridge destruction and increase in maintenance and operation cost. In addition, due to higher extension of wake region around rectangular bridge pier, more local scour depth occurs in comparison to circular bridge pier. In the present study, a new semiempirical approach was developed for calculation of local scour depth at the upstream face of round nose and tail rectangular bridge pier during hydrograph event (unsteady flow condition). In this method, in each time step, the volume of scour hole or in other words the volume of sediment transport was calculated using a sediment transport equation (MPM). Then, scour depth was determined form the volume of scour hole by simplifying the shape of it. In order to examine the accuracy of the present method, experimental data from different sources were selected. Results showed that the sediment transport equation should be modified in order to determine the volume of transported sediment around bridge pier in an unsteady flow condition. The modification factor applied to sediment transport equation was a function of hydrograph characteristics such as time to peak, duration and time from peak to base flow as well as hydrograph peak flow intensity. For example, by decreasing the time to peak, the modification factor increased (more sediment transport). Finally, the comparison of calculated scour depth based on present method and experimental data showed the acceptable accuracy of present method in comparison to other empirical equation with maximum discrepancy of lower than 10%.


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  • Receive Date: 09 July 2018
  • Revise Date: 17 January 2019
  • Accept Date: 18 January 2019
  • First Publish Date: 21 March 2019