Author(s): Giuseppe Ciraolo; Giovanni B. Ferreri; Goffredo La Loggia
Keywords: Flow resistance; vegetation; aquatic vegetation; Posidonia oceanica; shallow water; velocity profiles
Abstract: Management of coastal waters and lagoons by mathematical circulation models requires determination of the hydraulic resistance of submerged vegetation. A plant typical of sandy coastal bottoms in the Mediterranean Sea is Posidonia oceanica, which is constituted by very thin and flexible ribbon-like leaves, about 1 cm wide and up to 1.5m long, and usually covers the bottom with a density of 500–1000 plants/m2. From the hydraulic viewpoint, P. oceanica constitutes a particular roughness, because, as the velocity increases, the leaves bend more and more until they lie down on the bottom. Although P. oceanica is widespread, in the technical literature it is difficult to find indications about flow resistance due to this plant. In this paper, the results of specific experimental research are reported. The runs were carried out in a laboratory flume, where the plants were reproduced assembling plastic strips. In these experiments, the leaf length was larger than the flow depth, reproducing a shallow water situation which is very frequent in lagoons. The results allow one to recognize the hydraulic behaviour of the plants with variation in the Reynolds number of flow and the ratio between the leaf length and the flow depth. Velocity distribution in the section is also examined and a simple flow resistance law is achieved, which expresses Darcy–Weisbach's friction factor as a function only of a particular Reynolds number.