HEC‑RAS Culvert Supercritical & Mixed Flow Computations

Circular Culverts

The HEC‑RAS culvert routines allow for supercritical and mixed flow regimes inside the culvert barrel. During outlet control computations, the program first makes a subcritical flow pass through the culvert, from downstream to upstream.

If the culvert barrel is on a steep slope, the program may default to critical depth inside of the culvert barrel. If this occurs, a supercritical forewater calculation is made from upstream to downstream, starting with the assumption of critical depth at the culvert inlet. During the frontwater calculations, the program is continually checking the specific force of the flow, and comparing it to the specific force of the flow from the subcritical flow pass.

If the specific force of the subcritical flow is larger than the supercritical answer, the program assumes that a hydraulic jump will occur at that location. Otherwise, a supercritical flow profile is calculated all the way through and out of the culvert barrel.

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