Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published in the Transactions of the ASAE 38(2) (1995): 539-544.


Several types of hydraulic resistance factors may be present on upland agricultural areas. It is not known whether roughness contributions from individual elements are additive or if interactions between resistance factors may occur. In this study, Darcy-Weisbach roughness coefficients were measured on surfaces containing corn-soybeans, sorghum-cotton, and sunflower-wheat residue in addition to gravel cover. Varying rates of flow were introduced into a flume in which residue and gravel materials were securely attached. Roughness coefficients were calculated from measurements of discharge rate and flow velocity for Reynolds number values varying from approximately 1,200 to 13,000. The laboratory data were then used to identify the contribution to total hydraulic resistance provided by the different types of resistance elements. For most of the experimental treatments, the addition of smaller diameter residue materials (soybeans, cotton, or wheat) to surfaces containing larger resistance elements (corn, sorghum, or sunflower) did not significantly affect hydraulic resistance. However, smaller diameter residue materials did influence hydraulic resistance when they substantially increased the total volume of resistance elements. Existing roughness coefficient values were not significantly affected by the presence of gravel materials with diameters similar to the larger residue materials. The experimental results suggest that total hydraulic resistance cannot be predicted by simply adding the contributions provided by individual resistance elements. When estimating total hydraulic resistance on upland agricultural areas, the relative size, number, and volume of resistance elements must be considered.