HWM-30306 River Flow and Morphology


Studiepunten 6.00

Group work3
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. AJF Hoitink
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. B Vermeulen
dr. ir. AJF Hoitink
S de Lange
S Naqshband
I Niesten
Examiner(s)dr. ir. AJF Hoitink
S Naqshband

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

HWM-23806 Geophysical Fluid Mechanics and/or HWM-24306 Environmental Hydraulics 


The course deals with advanced topics of river flow and morphology, emphasizing hydrodynamics, sediment transport and morphodynamics in rivers and streams. It first covers the basics of one-dimensional channel flow by deriving the St. Venant equations, and presents solution methods. Simplifications to the St. Venant equations are introduced that lead to kinematic and diffusion wave approximations, being the bases for flood routing methods. Next, flow curvature and the associated secondary circulation in river bends are discussed, including the derivation of a set of governing equations. The course proceeds with bulk properties of sediment, further focusing on the foundations of bedload and suspended load sediment transport. Bedform dynamics in rivers are subsequently analysed with the main focus on alternative types of bedforms and the associated resistance to the flow. The final lectures address river morphological concepts and introduce one-dimensional analytical models simulating riverbed evolution, both theoretically and in computer exercises. A significant portion of time is dedicated to the analysis of flow, sediment transport and bedform dynamics in the Kraijenhoff van de Leur Laboratory for Water and Sediment Dynamics.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand discharge and water level dynamics in rivers and streams in response to forcing functions;
- apply the St. Venant equations and their simplified versions to both scientific and practical problems;
- explain three-dimensional flow patterns in curved channel reaches;
- provide the theoretical background required to choose an appropriate sediment transport prediction formula in river science and engineering;
- predict the type of bedform and associated roughness to flow for a given flow and sediment transport condition;
- predict the primary bed evolution changes resulting from measures in a river system;
- understand and critically analyse scientific literature on river flow and morphology.


The course consists of lectures, seminars, discussions of scientific papers and experiments in the Kraijenhoff van der Leur Laboratory for Water and Sediment Dynamics.


The mark for the course will be based on written examination of the theory and judgment of practical assignments. The River Flow and Morphology course consists of 6 credits; 5.25 credits are reserved for the theoretical part, and 0.75 credits for the practical part. The final mark will be determined according to the ratio 5:1.


A reader is made available via the WUR shop. Lecture notes, scientific papers and a practical guide can be downloaded from Brightspace.

Keuze voor: MEEEarth and EnvironmentMScA: Spec. A - Hydrology and Water Resources5AF