If the trough is situated on a knoll or slightly sloping abutment, flow into the side channel may enter the trough on both sides and cross the end if the position is on a steep hillside. A side channel spillway’s discharge characteristics resemble those of a regular overflow spillway and depend on the weir crest’s chosen profile. The side channel flow, however, may be different from the overflow spillway flow during maximum discharges in that it may be constrained and may partially engulf the flow over the crest. In this instance, a channel constriction downstream from the dip regulates the flow characteristics.  The restriction could be an orifice control, a point of critical flow in the channel, or a conduit or tunnel that is flowing to capacity. The side channel offers benefits that make it ideal for some spillway design even if it is neither hydraulically effective nor cheap. The side channel spillway is frequently the best option when a long overflow crest is required to reduce the surcharge head and the abutments are steep and precipitous or when the control must be connected to a small discharge channel or tunnel. The inbound and channel velocities will be relatively slow in side channel spillways, resulting in a reasonably full mixing of the flows and a relatively smooth flow in the side channel. Channel velocities will be high and the mixing of the high-energy transverse flow with the channel stream will be turbulent and rough where the channel flow is at the super-critical stage. The channel flow will typically be swept by the transverse flows to the opposite side of the channel, resulting in a powerful wave action and accompanying vibrations. It follows that flows should be considered performance. Establishing a control section downstream from the side channel trough will accomplish this.

The overflow crest on one side and the bank conditions on the other side will both have an impact on the cross-sectional shape of the side channel trough. A side channel design is typically not taken into account unless there is a reliable base, such rock, because of the turbulence and vibrations inherent in side channel flow. Therefore, the channel sides will often be lined with concrete that is set on a slope and securely fastened to the rock.

By assuming different bottom widths, different channel slopes, and different control sections, variations in the design can be constructed.

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