May 10, 2017
Journal Article

The Effects of Sampling Location and Turbulence on Discharge Estimates in Short Converging Turbine Intakes


Standards provide recommendations for best practices when installing current meters to measure fluid flow in closed conduits. A central guideline requires the velocity distribution to be regular and the flow steady. Because of the nature of the short converging intakes typical of low-head hydroturbines, these assumptions may be invalid if current meters are intended to be used to estimate discharge. Usual concerns are (1) the effects of the number of devices, (2) the sampling location and (3) the high turbulence caused by blockage from submersible traveling screens usually deployed for safe downstream fish passage. These three effects were examined in the present study by using 3D simulated flow fields in both steady-state and transient modes. In the process of describing an application at an existing hydroturbine intake at Ice Harbor Dam, the present work outlined the methods involved, which combined computational fluid dynamics, laboratory measurements in physical models of the hydroturbine, and current meter performance evaluations in experimental settings. The main conclusions in this specific application were that a steady-state flow field sufficed to determine the adequate number of meters and their location, and that both the transverse velocity and turbulence intensity had a small impact on estimate errors. However, while it may not be possible to extrapolate these findings to other field conditions and measuring devices, the study laid out a path to conduct similar assessments in other applications.

Revised: February 22, 2020 | Published: May 10, 2017


Romero Gomez P., S.F. Harding, and M.C. Richmond. 2017. The Effects of Sampling Location and Turbulence on Discharge Estimates in Short Converging Turbine Intakes. Engineering Applications of Computational Fluid Mechanics 11, no. 1:513-525. PNNL-SA-122068. doi:10.1080/19942060.2017.1313176