Jun 01

The influence of pier geometry and debris characteristics on the accumulation of woody debris at bridge piers

Research Article

Panici, D. & De Almeida, G.,

Published on 1 Jun 2020,

In : Journal of Hydraulic Engineering. 146, 6, 31 p.

DOI 10.1061/(ASCE)HY.1943-7900.0001757


This paper analyses the influence of the geometry of bridge piers and the geometry of the supplied debris on the formation and growth of wood debris jams at bridge piers. A total of 162 laboratory experiments have been conducted. Experimental results showed that the maximum size of debris jams formed by the accumulation of cylindrical debris (i.e. wooden dowels) is smaller than that of jams formed by natural non-branched wood of irregular shape. In addition, experiments with branched debris resulted in jams that were significantly smaller and less stable than those with non-branched natural debris. Finally, comparison of experiments conducted with six different pier shapes indicate that the shape of a pier has negligible effects on the maximum size of a woody debris jam. The only exception to this observation was for square piers, which showed slightly larger debris jam sizes than the other types of piers tested.