Roughness Characteristics of Natural Channels

U.S. Geological Survey, Water Supply Paper 1849

by Harry H. Barnes, Jr.

This report is available as a pdf below


Color photographs and descriptive data are presented for 50 stream channels for which roughness coefficients have been determined.

All hydraulic computations involving flow in open channels require an evaluation of the roughness characteristics of the channel. In the absence of a satisfactory quantitative procedure this evaluation remains chiefly an art. The ability to evaluate roughness coefficients must be developed through experience. One means of gaining this experience is by examining and becoming acquainted with the appearance of some typical channels whose roughness coefficients are known.

The photographs and data contained in this report represent a wide range of channel conditions. Familiarity with the appearance, geometry, and roughness characteristics of these channels will improve the engineer's ability to select roughness coefficients for other channels .

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