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J. Sterling Jones Hydraulics Research Laboratory


Research Summary


Optimum Bridge Deck Shapes to Minimize Pressure Flow Scour Phase II

The bridge of the future is likely to be one that is inundated with water from storm surges or occasional flooding from time to time, where the flow through the bridge opening is under pressure and causes concerns about amplified scour. This study utilizes the Particle Imagery Velocimetry (PIV) capabilities and the shear force sensor that have been developed for the FHWA Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) J. Sterling Jones Hydraulics Research Laboratory to characterize streamlines and shear stresses on the channel bed for a variety of bridge deck shapes and positions above the bed.

Lift and Drag Forces on Bridge Decks Phase II

The bridge of the future is likely to be constructed of lighter and more durable high- performance materials, which will lead to more concern about storm surges and their effects on the decks and the foundations as occurred on I10 during the 2004 Hurricane Ivan in Florida. This study utilizes high-tech force measurement techniques that have been developed in the TFHRC J. Sterling Jones Hydraulics Research Laboratory to derive lift and drag coefficients for water submerged bridge decks for a variety of approach flow conditions.

Effects of Water Flow and Shaking on Scouring of Bridge Piers Phase

This study is a collaboration between the TFHRC J. Sterling Jones Hydraulics Research Laboratory and the seismic research program under Phillip Yen. This second phase of the multihazard research effort will use a motion control device that will simulate earthquake motions that can excite the soil recess section of the flume. The response of the bridge pier will be simulated using a free vibration and forced vibration technique. The scouring process will be monitored to capture changes after the simulated earthquake event. The test results and experiences made with this study will be used to make recommendations and to develop design ideas for a big scale test facility.

Laboratory Experiments to Determine Wave Forces and Moments on Typical U.S. Highway Bridge Decks

In the past two years, hurricanes have caused devastating failures to a number of U.S. highway bridges along the Gulf Coast. These failures have been attributed to the combination of storm surge and wave loading on the bridge superstructure. There are many bridges throughout the country that are vulnerable to this type of loading. A review of the public domain literature regarding the ability to accurately predict both lateral and uplift forces on bridge spans as a function of wave parameters (height, period, steepness) and the elevation of the span relative to mean water level clearly show the need for carefully planned and executed laboratory experiments.

The objectives of this proposed research are to obtain lateral (horizontal), uplift (vertical) forces and moments on typical U.S. highway bridge structures as a function of:

  1. Vertical location relative to the still water level
  2. Wave height
  3. Wave period
  4. Wave steepness and for irregular waves
  5. Wave spectra parameters

Refining the theory and conducting laboratory scale experiments will meet these objectives.

Pier Scour Countermeasures Using Fluidic Devices

This study will include developing countermeasures by streamlining the shape/form of a bridge pier. A force balance to measure drag force will be used in the streamlining procedure. The streamlining process will be supported using a 3-D (3 dimensional) Volume PIV. We will also study the influence of roughness elements and shields mounted on the side of bridge piers using a shear force device.

Smart Particle Sensor Networks for In-Situ Hydraulic Research

The basic concept behind this project is to develop a network of tiny sensors connected wirelessly to each other which can be used in-situ to monitor flows. These smart particles transmit data to a receiving device in real-time.

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(Jones (retired))

Contractor: University of Florida (Sheppard)

Investigated scour at compound pier shapes and exposed pile groups. Live bed experiments conducted by Sheppard at Colorado State University's large 8-foot flume showed that scour continued to increase significantly beyond the incipient motion velocity for the fine bed materials. This finding has created considerable controversy about the requirements for a valid physical lab model study and scaling assumptions for projecting prototype conditions from model results. A new procedure for estimating scour at complex piers in the next version of HEC-18 (Hydraulic Engineering Circular 18) is based in part on this study.

(Jones (retired), Thompson)

Contractor: U.S. Geological Survey (Dave Mueller)

Research Products: Remote-controlled boat, evaluation of positioning systems, testing and evaluation of telemetry data acquisitions.

Final report: FHWA-RD-99-085 Portable Instrumentation for Real Time Measurement of Scour at Bridges

(Jones (retired), Pagan)

Contractor: HYDRAUTECH (Albert Molinas)

Research Products: Completed in 1998. Enhancements to the BRIdge StreamTube Model for Alluvial River Simulation & Sediment Transport, which was developed under NCHRP include:

  • Improved user interface
  • Cross section interpolation
  • Improved WSPRO (U.S. Geological Survey's water surface profile computation model) routines
  • Equation selection advisor
  • Advanced graphics
  • Choking algorithms
  • Microsoft® Windows operating system version
Deliverables included:
  • User's Manual
  • Primers Manual
  • Executive Summary
  • Executable Code
  • Source Code for BRI-STARS

Reports: FHWA-RD-99-190 User's Manual for BRI-STARS, FHWA-RD-99-191 User's Primer for BRI-STARS, and the executable code is available on the FHWA Bridge Technology Web page. The deliverables also are available from the contractors Web site; the manual and primer were printed. One copy of each has been distributed directly to the hydraulics office in each State Highway Agency.


Contractor: Georgia Tech Research Corporation (Dr. Terry Sturm)

Research Products: Completed in 1999. Lab study of abutment scour in compound channels. Contractor prepared an abutment scour prediction procedure to be considered by the authors of the next version of HEC-18. Several technical papers, based on results of this study, were published in American Society of civil Engineers (ASCE) and Transportation Research Board publications, including Transportation Research Records 1523 and 1647.

Final Report: FHWA-RD-99-156 Enhanced Abutment Scour Studies for Compound Channels is on hold as of January 8, 2001, to check some of the comparisons of methods of predicting abutment scour against the experimental data.

SBIR - Saunders and Oppenheimer

The first phase SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research ) study is complete. Leonard Oppenheimer presented the concepts at the 1998 ASCE Hydraulics conference in Memphis, TN, but we do not have a technical paper that describes the results of this study in detail.

SP&R (Arneson)

Regional pooled fund with Colorado as lead State.

Reports: United States Geological Survey (USGS) Open File Report 93-419 and Water Supply Paper 2433, both titled Methods for Estimating Magnitude & Frequency of Floods in the Southwestern United States

SP&R-SC (Pagan)

Regional SP&R Pooled-Fund - Bill Hulburt, SCDH&PT

Developing procedures for tidal inlet hydraulics and scour estimation.

SP&R-PA (Jones (retired), Thompson)

Contractor: Colorado State University (Ruff/Fotherby)

Research Findings: Determined Toskanes to be best shape for concrete blocks. Design equation includes a D50/pier width ratio that should be applicable for riprap design

Final report: Bridge Scour Protection Systems Using Toskanes-Phase I published in June 1995 as PennDOT report No.91-02.

(Chase, Thompson)

Contractor: USGS (Tim Diehl)

Status: Providing regional estimates of the quantity, size, mass, and character of debris and ice for various discharges and watersheds used as input to NCHRP Project 12-39. The final report, FHWA-RD-97-028, has been accepted. We developed a preliminary lab plan to investigate scour around debris laden piles based on observations from this study. The final report Potential Drift Accumulation at Bridges (publication no. FHWA-RD-97-028) is available through the USGS Tennessee Web site: http://tn.water.usgs.gov/pubs/FHWA-RD-97-028/drfront1.htm

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Technical oversight of each project is provided by the individuals shown in parenthesis. David Renaud (Transportation Research Board), (202) 334-1695) coordinates NCHRP research.

Project 15-24, FY 2003 [Active]
Hydraulic Loss Coefficients for Culverts

(Reynaud, Kerenyi)

Contractor: Utah State University-Utah Water Research Laboratory (Tullis)

Status: Research currently is underway.

Project 15-36, FY 2006 [Active]
Estimating Joint Probabilities of Design Coincident Flows at Stream Confluences

(Reynaud, Kerenyi)

Contractor: Kilgore Consulting and Management (Kilgore)

Status: Research currently is underway.

Project 20-05/Topic 36-02, FY 2004 [Active]
Monitoring Scour Critical Bridges

(Reynaud, Kerenyi)

Contractor: STV Inc. (Hunt)

Status: Research currently is underway.

Project 24-07(2), Fiscal Year (FY) 2001 [Active]
Countermeasures to Protect Bridge Piers from Scour, Phase 2

(Reynaud, Kerenyi)

Contractor: Ayres Associates (Lagasse, Clopper)

Status: The draft final report currently is being reviewed.

Project 24-15(2), FY 2004 [Active]
Abutment Scour in Cohesive Soils

(Reynaud, Kerenyi)

Contractor: Texas A&M Research Foundation (Briaud)

Status: The Task 6 interim panel meeting was held at Texas A&M University in February 2005. Research on Phase II currently is underway.

Project 24-20, FY 2002 [Active]
Prediction of Scour at Bridge Abutments

(Reynaud, Kerenyi)

Contractor: The University of Iowa (Ettema, Natao, Muste, Spasojevic)

Status: The Phase I interim report and Phase II Revised Research Work Plan were submitted for review and approval on April 16, 2003. The NCHRP Project 24-20 research oversight panel met with the research team at the University of Iowa on July 23rd and 24th, 2003. The oversight panel approved both the Phase I results and the revised research work plan. Research currently is underway on Phase II.

Project 24-24, FY 2004 [Active]
Criteria for Selecting Numeric Hydraulic Modeling Software

(Reynaud, Kerenyi)

Contractor: Ocean Engineering Associates, Inc. (Sheppard)

Status: The NCHRP panel met with the research team for the Task 5 interim panel meeting in September 2005. Research on Phase II currently is underway.

Project 24-25, FY 2004 [Active]
Guidelines for Risk-Based Management of Bridges with Unknown Foundations

(Reynaud, Kerenyi)

Contractor: GKY & Associates, Inc. (Stein)

Status: The draft final report currently is being reviewed.

Project 24-26, FY 2004 [Active]
Effects of Debris on Bridge-Pier Scour

(Reynaud, Kerenyi)

Contractor: Ayres Associates, Inc. (Lagasse)

Status: The NCHRP panel met with the research team for the Task 5 interim panel meeting in October 2005. Research on Phase II currently is underway.

Project 24-27 [Pending]
Evaluation of Bridge-Scour Research

(Reynaud, Kerenyi)

Contractor and Status pending.

Project 24-29, FY 2006 [Active]
Scour at Bridge Foundations on Rock

(Reynaud, Kerenyi)

Contractor: MACTEC Engineering and Consulting, Inc. (Keaton)

Status: Research currently is underway.

Project 24-32, FY 2007 [Active]
Scour at Wide Piers and Long Skewed Piers

(Reynaud, Kerenyi)

Contractor: Ocean Engineering Associates, Inc. (Sheppard)

Status: Research currently is underway.

Project 24-33 [Pending]
Development of Design Methods for In-stream Flow Control Structures

(Reynaud, Kerenyi)

Contractor and Status pending.

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