The main purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of aquatic plants with no leaves (L0), 4 leaves (L4), 8 leaves (L8), and 12 leaves (L12) on the mean streamwise velocity, turbulence structure, and Manning’s roughness coefficient. The results show that the resistance of submerged aquatic plants to flow velocity is discontinuous between the lower aquatic plant layer and the upper free water layer. This leads to the difference of flow velocity between the upper and lower layers. An increase of the number of leaves leads to an increase in the flow velocity gradient in the upper non-vegetation area and a decrease in the flow velocity in the lower vegetation area. In addition, aquatic plants induce a momentum exchange near the top of the plant and increase the Reynold’s stress and turbulent kinetic energy. However, because of the inhibition of leaf area on the momentum exchange, the Reynold’s stress and turbulent kinetic energy increase first and then decrease with the increase in the number of leaves. Quadrant analysis shows that ejection and sweep play a dominant role in momentum exchange. Aquatic plants can also increase the Reynold’s stress by increasing the ejection and sweep. The Manning’s roughness coefficient increases with the increasing number of leaves.
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