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Flow Control in Culverts: A Performance Comparison between Inlet and Outlet Control

1
School of Science and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs 4556, QLD, Australia
2
IMT Atlantique Bretagne—Pays de Loire, Department of Energy Systems and Environment, 44307 Nantes, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(7), 1408; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071408
Received: 5 June 2019 / Revised: 30 June 2019 / Accepted: 3 July 2019 / Published: 9 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Hydraulics)
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PDF [274 KB, uploaded 9 July 2019]
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Abstract

Culverts, as an essential part of drainage networks worldwide, provide an efficient solution for flowing waters to cross man-made barriers including roads. Existing structures can be many years old and changes in rainfall patterns due to global warming might not have been considered in their original design. While correctly designed culverts can effectively drain water during high-intensity rainfall events, poorly designed or outdated structures could cause upstream flooding resulting in costly damage and losses. Hydraulic improvements to prepare existing culverts for greater discharge rates could be a favorable alternative to rebuilding every failing structure. Modern design guidelines calculate the performance for inlet and outlet controlled flows on the basis of established hydraulic theories. After calculating the headwater levels for both flow controls, the inferior one is then chosen, based on the assumption that the culvert will operate in its least efficient state. Flow improvements could be made by enforcing the better performing option. Outlet control can be ensured by raising the tailwater levels as high as the outlet thereby utilizing the entire cross-sectional area of the culvert. It was found that, in some cases, an enforced outlet control enables culverts to perform better than operation under inlet control. However, only smooth and short culverts with high losses at the inlet were identified as benefiting from this approach and many existing structures could be improved by better inlet designs. View Full-Text
Keywords: culvert; culvert hydraulics; culvert design flow control; discharge capacity; climate change culvert; culvert hydraulics; culvert design flow control; discharge capacity; climate change
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jaeger, R.; Tondera, K.; Pather, S.; Porter, M.; Jacobs, C.; Tindale, N. Flow Control in Culverts: A Performance Comparison between Inlet and Outlet Control. Water 2019, 11, 1408.

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