A simple total sediment load formula

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


Prediction of total sediment load has been a challenge to river engineers for decades. Two approaches are typically used: One is to directly calculate the total sediment load from measured flow and sediment properties, and the other is to separate total sediment load into bed load and suspended load and calculate them independently. Because the criteria that separate bed load and suspended load is still a debatable subject, practical engineers prefer to use the total load equation for estimating sediment load. However, there are more than 31 equations for calculating total sediment load, and the discrepancies of those equations are in the orders of magnitude. To obtain a general equation, this study analyzed more than 4,000 sets of laboratory experimental and 3,000 sets of field measurements of total sediment load. Based on the dimensional analysis, eight new dimensionless parameters are formulated to quantify total sediment load. Correlations of dimensionless total sediment load with those new and other conventional parameters are calculated using the observed data. The highest correlation, 0.94, was found between the dimensionless total sediment load and a new dimensionless parameter, τ*(u*- u*c) / ω, in which u*is shear velocity, ω is settling velocity, and τ*is dimensionless shear stress. A simplified power-law relation is formulated from fitting the measured data. This new relation is compared with the commonly used total sediment load relation, such as Engelund-Hansen (1967), Ackers-White (1972), Yang (1973, 1979). Results showed the new simplified equation yielded the best matches of this set of total sediment load data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWorld Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2013
Subtitle of host publicationShowcasing the Future - Proceedings of the 2013 Congress
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780784412947
StatePublished - 2013
EventWorld Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2013: Showcasing the Future - Cincinnati, OH, United States
Duration: May 19 2013May 23 2013

Publication series

NameWorld Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2013: Showcasing the Future - Proceedings of the 2013 Congress


OtherWorld Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2013: Showcasing the Future
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCincinnati, OH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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