Direct measurements of local bed shear stress in the presence of pressure gradients

Nimish Pujara, Philip L.F. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the development of a shear plate sensor capable of directly measuring the local mean bed shear stress in small-scale and large-scale laboratory flumes. The sensor is capable of measuring bed shear stress in the range ± 200 Pa with an accuracy up to ± 1 %. Its size, 43 mm in the flow direction, is designed to be small enough to give spatially local measurements, and its bandwidth, 75 Hz, is high enough to resolve time-varying forcing. Typically, shear plate sensors are restricted to use in zero pressure gradient flows because secondary forces on the edge of the shear plate caused by pressure gradients can introduce large errors. However, by analysis of the pressure distribution at the edges of the shear plate in mild pressure gradients, we introduce a new methodology for correcting for the pressure gradient force. The developed sensor includes pressure tappings to measure the pressure gradient in the flow, and the methodology for correction is applied to obtain accurate measurements of bed shear stress under solitary waves in a small-scale wave flume. The sensor is also validated by measurements in a turbulent flat plate boundary layer in open channel flow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1767
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jul

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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