The Advantages of Trapezoidal Flumes

trapezoidal flume

Trapezoidal flumes were first developed in the 1960s and today are one of the more popular, widespread styles of flume used today. That’s because they have many advantages and are suited for use in a wide range of surface water and industrial measurement systems. They are especially good in outdoor settings and tend to offer very consistent readings. Check out this overview of the advantages of trapezoidal flumes, where they’re best used, and how they might help your operation.

Trapezoidal Flumes Are Easy to Retrofit

It’s very easy to retrofit a trapezoidal flume into a natural stream, creek, or channel. This is because the erosion of water moving over and through them tends to make them take on a trapezoidal shape anyway. That’s actually the reason for the trapezoidal flume’s shape. Its cross-section makes installation easy and fast, more so than with U-shaped or rectangular versions.


While every flume requires maintenance and cleaning, these require less maintenance than other varieties. This is because their flat-bottomed nature doesn’t allow silt to settle as much as ramp-style flumes do. Larger solids tend to slide right through, driven by an increased flow rate. When debris does lodge in the flume, water pressure building up behind it generally tends to clear it.

Highly Accurate and Consistent Readings

These flumes tend to be sensitive to low flow rates, and have equal ability to measure and pass surging flows. Even as resolution decreases as the depth increases, the flume’s accuracy doesn’t change. It’s accurate over a range of flow rates.

A Range of Sizes and Styles

Trapezoidal flumes come in a wide range of sizes and styles. Though they are similar in configuration, with sloping walls and flat bottoms, they can be found for and fit to a range of different uses, including seepage, edge-of-field, irrigation, and industrial discharge uses. You simply need to anticipate the flows you’ll need and select the flume to match.

Submergence Resistant

Trapezoidal flumes are ideal in situations where conditions downstream restrict the flow of water from the flume, also called submergence. That makes them ideal for these situations where other kinds of flumes don’t work.

Reduced Head Loss

Overall, the trapezoidal flume style generates the lowest head loss of any sort of short throated flume. This is due to its flat bottom, which allows it to sit flush on the floor of the majority of channels. In addition, its outward sloping sidewalls allow large flows to pass through unimpeded.

Outdoor and Industrial Applications

Trapezoidal flumes can be used in almost any type of outdoor application. They were originally intended for use in irrigation channels but are now the go-to solution for ditch runoff. They can also, however, be used in industrial situations as well. Since the shape allows solids to pass through easily, they are very often found in wastewater and sanitation operations.

Explore Trapezoidal Flumes at Tracom

If you’re interested in exploring options for a trapezoidal flume, Tracom is your one-stop shop. We are a leading provider of fiberglass products and can answer all your questions. Just give us a call to place your order or get more information today.

Andrew Helbling

Andrew Helbling is the Product Specialist at Tracom, where he works with engineers, contractors, and product owners alike to assess and select the best open channel flow and general-purpose fiberglass products for their application. Andrew is passionate about clean water and helping operators and engineers provide the cleanest water possible.

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