Stability of Solids in Stepped Flume Nappe Flows: Subsidies for Human Stability in Flows


1 Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, 40210-630, Brazil

2 Salvador University, Salvador, Bahia, 41770-235, Brazil

3 Hydro-Engineering Solutions (Hydro-LLC), Auburn, Alabama, 36830,


Knowing the details of the interaction between people and runoff flows caused by heavy rainfall or by floods due for example by the rupture of reservoirs or dams is essential to prevent accidents with humans. There are information in the literature on the equilibrium capacity of individuals partially immersed in flows occurring in flat-bottomed channels, but there are many gaps regarding the use of urban draining staircases during the occurrence of rainfalls that generate runoff over their steps, and their impact on people. This study considered the effect of the flow on the stability of five obstacles positioned on one of the steps of a reduced model of a draining staircase. The results were used to calculate dimensionless parameters which involve the mass and height of the obstacle, the water density, critical depth of the flow and step height. These parameters were justified by a fundamental toppling and drag formulation, and good correlations between the obtained dimensionless parameters were obtained following adequate power laws. Comparisons between the data obtained in the present reduced model of staircase and literature data of flat bottom channels showed similar behaviors. Finally, a scaling procedure to compare results of different scales and situations was also presented. Excellent correlations using different literature data and those of the present study were obtained.