Studying inertia effects in open channel flow using Saint-Venant equations

Dong Sin Shih, Gour Tsyh Yeh

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1 Scopus citations


One-dimensional (1D) Saint-Venant equations, which originated from the Navier-Stokes equations, are usually applied to express the transient stream flow. The governing equation is based on the mass continuity and momentum equivalence. Its momentum equation, partially comprising the inertia, pressure, gravity, and friction-induced momentum loss terms, can be expressed as kinematic wave (KIW), diffusion wave (DIW), and fully dynamic wave (DYW) flow. In this study, the method of characteristics (MOCs) is used for solving the diagonalized Saint-Venant equations. A computer model, CAMP1DF, including KIW, DIW, and DYW approximations, is developed. Benchmark problems from MacDonald et al. (1997) are examined to study the accuracy of the CAMP1DF model. The simulations revealed that CAMP1DF can simulate almost identical results that are valid for various fluvial conditions. The proposed scheme that not only allows a large time step size but also solves half of the simultaneous algebraic equations. Simulations of accuracy and efficiency are both improved. Based on the physical relevance, the simulations clearly showed that the DYW approximation has the best performance, whereas the KIW approximation results in the largest errors. Moreover, the field non-prismatic case of the Zhuoshui River in central Taiwan is studied. The simulations indicate that the DYW approach does not ensure achievement of a better simulation result than the other two approximations. The investigated cross-sectional geometries play an important role in stream routing. Because of the consideration of the acceleration terms, the simulated hydrograph of a DYW reveals more physical characteristics, particularly regarding the raising and recession of limbs. Note that the KIW does not require assignment of a downstream boundary condition, making it more convenient for field application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1652
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number11
StatePublished - 14 Nov 2018


  • Diffusion wave flow
  • Dynamic wave flow
  • Kinematic wave flow
  • Saint-Venant equations


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