How do Wave Suppressors Help With Surface Water Turbulence?

In any flume or weir box, accurate measurements depend on a steady and controlled flow rate. While many factors can affect the integrity of that flow rate, what matters most is avoiding turbulence that can severely throw off any measurements. Fortunately, tools are available to help keep the flow steady and easily measurable. Learn how wave suppressors help with surface water turbulence.

What Is Turbulence?

Turbulence in a flow channel is an area in which the water is moving in random patterns seemingly irrelevant to the general direction of flow. This can manifest as boils on the water’s surface or eddies in the flow stream that seem to appear and disappear at random intervals. Because of the altered spots in the flow, certain water particles and even debris within the water can move independently of the flow direction, which, in turn, can cause the effects of turbulence to expand to other areas of the flow channel.

You’ll find several different causes of turbulence when it comes to flow channels. Something as simple as weeds along the banks of the flow stream can throw off the integrity of the water’s flow. Additionally, sediment deposits can change the way the flow operates. Essentially, any obstruction that creates irregularities in the flow channel dimensions can potentially lead to turbulence.

How Turbulence Impacts Accuracy

One of the most important aspects of flow rate measurement is determining where exactly the flow head is. For a consistent flow head measurement, the flow’s surface needs to be steady. With turbulence, the flow head measurement gets thrown off significantly, and that can alter the entire equation. 

In fact, this alteration can compromise measurements with errors as much as 10% or 20%, if not more. To ensure you’re not suffering from mismeasurements caused by turbulence, you’ll have to eliminate visible signs of turbulence upstream to ensure accurate measurements. That’s where wave suppressors can help.

How to Deal With Turbulence

If you’re looking to suppress waves in a flow channel, nothing works quite like a wave suppressor. Underflow wave suppressors are compatible with both large and small channels and can reduce waves by up to 93%, which puts it well in the range of commonly accepted accurate measurement conditions. To get the most out of your wave suppressor, make sure the underflow section is about four times the depth of the total flow.

In addition to wave suppressors, you can also use a stilling well. Keep in mind, however, that this should be a last-resort option only when wave suppressors aren’t reducing the surface turbulence to a useful degree. Stilling wells are much more difficult and costly to install, and they can change the way your entire flow rate function operates. 

Flume Accessories From Tracom

If you’re looking to get your hands on wave suppressors or a stilling well, Tracom has got you covered. With our comprehensive selection of customizable flume accessories, you can make the most out of your flow channel and get the accurate measurements you need. Contact us today to learn more about our fiberglass creations!