First Advisor

Shu-Guang Li

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil Engineering


Diffusion in hydrology -- Mathematical models, Stream measurements, Streamflow velocity, Stochastic analysis



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 70 p.)


The existing theories for predicting longitudinal dispersion in straight open channels have long been recognized as inadequate when applied to natural rivers. These theories tend to grossly underestimate dispersion in real streams since an important mixing mechanism due to nonuniform river cross-section variations is not explicitly taken into account. Recognizing the important role of stream irregularities on solute transport and the analytical difficulties of classical deterministic analysis, we develop a stochastic approach for analyzing solute transport in natural streams. Variations in river width and bed elevation are conveniently represented as one-dimensional random fields, characterized by their autocorrelation functions. Advection and dispersion due to the combined effect of turbulent diffusion and nonuniform flow are described by the stochastic solute transport equation. When boundary variations are small and statistically homogeneous, a stochastic spectral technique is used to obtain closed-form stochastic solutions. In particular, closed-form expressions are obtained for effective mean solute transport velocity and effective dispersion coefficient reflecting mixing due to flow variations both within the river cross-section and in the streamwise direction. The results show that the mean behavior of solute transport in a statistically irregular stream can be described as a gradient dispersion process. The effective mean transport velocity in natural rivers is smaller than that in a corresponding uniform channel, and the effective longitudinal dispersion coefficient in natural rivers can be considerably greater than that of uniform open channels. The discrepancy between uniform channels and natural rivers increases rapidly as the variances of river width and bed elevation increase, especially when the mean flow Froude number is high.


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