Course Description

This course covers geometric and hydraulic properties of open channels, conservation laws as applied to open channel flow, principles of critical, uniform and gradually varied flows, design of channels for capacity and erosion resistance, flow profile computations, hydraulic routing, and open channel flow applications.


Open Channel Hydraulics Terry W. Sturm (2001)


CE 309 Fluid Mechanics

Course objectives

1.  apply continuity, momentum, and energy principles to open channel flow situations (a)
2.  solve problems involving critical flow in open channels (e)
3.  apply uniform flow concepts in open channel flow (a)
4.  compute water surface profiles in gradually varied flow situations (a)
5.  design channels for flow capacity and erosion resistance using various methods (c)
6.  apply hydraulic routing to open channel flow (a)
7.  carry out flow measurement in open channel flow (a, b, k)
8.  use professional versions of computer software for various open channel flow applications such as culvert design, storm sewer design, highway drainage, and scour and erosion protection (c, i, j, k)

Alphabets within parentheses refer to program outcomes listed on below tab.

Program Outcomes

a.  an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
b.  an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
c.  an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs
d.  an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
e.  an ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems
f.  an understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities
g.  an ability to communicate effectively
h.  the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context
i.  a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
j.  a knowledge of contemporary issues
k.  an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

Computer Usage

Professional versions of software are introduced for open channel flow computations, culvert design, storm sewer design, highway drainage and scour computations.


Homework problems from the textbook and other projects will be assigned and graded. For some topics special problems are assigned from other sources. Three tests and a final will be given. Graduate students will consult with the instructor (not later than the third week) on course related project, journal review or original research taken for graduate credit.


Points corresponding to letter grades will be determined by the instructor based on the class average.

    Undergraduate Student Graduate Student
Homework / Reading Assignments 15% 10%
3 Tests 60% 45%
Finals 25% 25%
Other   20%

Disability concerns

Any student with disabilities or other special needs is invited to share his/her concerns with the instructor as soon as possible. Every effort will be made to accommodate the concerns.

Academic honesty

All work in this course must be completed in a manner consistent with NDSU Senate Policy, Section 355: Code of Academic Responsibility and Conduct as shown on the university web page,


Web pages
The United States Geological Survey (USGS)
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Natural Resources Conservation Service
North Dakota State Water Commission
US Army Corps of Engineers
North Dakota Geological Survey
Minnesota Geological Survey
USGS Surface Water Resources
Vicksburg Waterway Experiment Station

Open Channel Hydraulics by Ven Te Chow
Open Channel Flow by Henderson, F. M.
Open Channel Hydraulics by French, Richard
Design of Small Dams by U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Handbook of Hydraulics by Brater and King
Handbook of Applied Hydraulics by Davis and Sorenson
Fluid Mechanics with Engineering Applications by Franzini & Finnemore
Water-Resources Engineering (Linsley et al)
Water resources Handbook (Larry Mays)

Culvert Hydraulics HDS #5
Open Channel Design Charts
Design of Flexible Channel Linings
Design of Roadway Drainage
Design of Hydraulic Energy Dissipators
Handbook of Applied Hydrology (Ven Te Chow, Ed.)
Rainfall Frequency Atlas of the USWB TP 40
National Weather Service Technical Memorandum HYDRO-35
North Dakota Hydrology Manual by NRCS and NDDOT

Technical Journals
Journal of Hydrology
Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Journal of Hydrologic Engineering
Journal of Water Resources Engineering