Prediction of Maximum Scour Depth Using Scaled Down Bridge Model in Laboratory


  • Rupayan Saha WVU
  • Seungh ho Hong WVU


Scour, Physical model, Maximum scour depth predition


Recently, United States faced catastrophic flooding in West Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and the flooding resulted in several bridge failures. Among them, bridge scour is one of the main causes behind many bridge failures and financial losses as well as loss of life. Since 1960, a lot of scour research have been done and the several estimation methods were already in the hand of hydraulic engineers. Currently, the issues of scour are once again rising topic because the occurrence of extreme weather events are expected to worsen in frequency. Furthermore, current practice of scour estimation shows over-prediction and sometimes, under-prediction. One possible reason is adding separate estimates of contraction and local scour when in fact these processes occur simultaneously. Another possible reason is these equations are based on the experiments using free-surface flow in idealized-rectangular flumes even though extreme flood event can cause bridge overtopping flow in combination with submerged orifice flow. In this study, experiments were carried out in a compound shape channel using scaled down bridge model in different flow conditions (free, submerged orifice and overtopping flow). Based on the findings from laboratory experiments coupled with widely used empirical scour estimation methods, such as CSU pier scour equation, Melville-Sheppard equation and Ambient pier scour method, we will present a comprehensive way of predicting design scour depth which overcomes problem regarding separate estimation of different scour depths. In addition to develop a procedure for estimating of design scour depth, the mechanism and characteristics of scour process will be investigated and a comparison of these equations will be presented.

Author Biographies

Rupayan Saha, WVU

Graduate Research Assistant

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

West Virginia University

Seungh ho Hong, WVU

Assistant Professor

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

West Virginia University


Hong, S. and Sturm, T. W. (2010). "Physical Modeling of Abutment Scour for Overtopping, Submerged Orifice, and Free Surface Flows." International Conference on Scour and Erosion (ICSE-5) 2010.

Hong, S., Sturm, T. W. and Stoesser, T. (2015). "Clear Water Abutment Scour in a Compound Channel for Extreme Hydrologic Events." Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Volume 141, Issue 6, June 2015.




How to Cite

Saha, R., & Hong, S. ho. (2017). Prediction of Maximum Scour Depth Using Scaled Down Bridge Model in Laboratory. Proceedings of the West Virginia Academy of Science, 89(1). Retrieved from



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