Influence of crest geometric on discharge coefficient efficiency of labyrinth weirs

Erick Mattos-Villarroel a, Jorge Flores-Velázquez b, Waldo Ojeda-Bustamante c, Carlos Díaz-Delgado d, Humberto Salinas-Tapia dShow moreAdd to MendeleyShareCite

aMexican Institute of Water Technology, Mexico
bPostgraduate College, Hydrosciences, Carr. Mex-Tex Km 36.5, Texcoco, Mexico State, 56230, Mexico
cAgricultural Engineering Graduate Program, University of Chapingo, Mexicod
Inter-American Institute of Water Science and Technology, Mexico rights and content


  • •Optimizing the geometric design of weirs can improve hydraulic performance.
  • •Labyrinth type weirs allow the discharge capacity to be increased compared to linear weirs.
  • •Hydraulic heads with ratio HT/P > 0.5 generated sub-atmospheric pressures on the side walls of the weir.
  • •Numerical simulation it is a strong tool to analyze and get optimized the weir function.


Labyrinth type weirs are structures that, due to their geometry, allow the discharge capacity to be increased compared to linear weirs. They are a favorable option for dam rehabilitation and upstream level control. There are various geometries of labyrinth type weirs such as trapezoidal, triangular or piano key as well as different types of crest profiles. Geometric changes are directly related to hydraulic efficiency. The objective of this work was to analyze the hydraulic performance of a labyrinth type weir, by simulating several geometries of the apex and of the crest using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). For model validation, experimental studies reported in the literature were used. Tests were carried out with trapezoidal and circular apexes and four types of crest profiles: sharp-crest, half-round, quarter-round and Waterways Experiment Station (WES). The results revealed a determination coefficient of R2 = 0.984 between experimental and simulated data with CFD, which provides statistical agreement. Simulations showed that circular-apex weirs are more efficient than those with trapezoidal apex, because they have a higher discharge coefficient (4.7% higher). Of the four types of crest profiles analyzed, the half-round and the WES crest profiles had similar discharge coefficients and were generally greater than those of the sharp-crest and the quarter-round (5.26% y 8.5% higher) profiles. Nevertheless, to facilitate a practical construction process, it is recommended to use a half-round profile. For hydraulic heads with HT/P > 0.5 ratio, all profiles generated sub-atmospheric pressures on the side walls of the weir. However, when HT/P ≈ 0.8 ratio the half-round crest generated a higher negative pressure (−1500 Pa), while the sharp-crest profile managed to increase the pressure by 76% (−350 Pa), but with a greater area of negative pressure. On the other hand, the WES profile reduced the negative-pressure area by 50%.


Labyrinth weir

Computational fluids dynamics (CFD)

Discharge coefficient

Apex shape

Crest profile

Figures (12)

  1. Fig. 1. Geometric parameters of a labyrinth weir
  2. Fig. 2. Crest profiles: (A) sharp-crest, (B) half-round, (C) quarter-round, (D) WES
  3. Fig. 3. Apex shapes
  4. Fig. 4. Weir and boundary conditions
  5. Fig. 5. Hydraulic head approach an asymptotic zero-grid spacing value
  6. Fig. 6. Percentage relative error of the discharge coefficient as a function of HT/P
  7. Fig. 7. Comparison of the discharge coefficients obtained numerically against the…
  8. Fig. 8. Pressure distribution in the downstream side walls of the labyrinth weir
  9. Fig. 9. Comparison of the discharge coefficient in trapezoidal apex labyrinth weirs
  10. Fig. 10. Comparison of the discharge coefficient in circular apex labyrinth weirs
  11. Fig. 11. Local drowning at the upstream apex
  12. Fig. 12. Ratio of the discharge coefficient of the circular apex weir with the…