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Uniform Open Channel Flow and the Manning Equation

COURSE NO: C02-021
Uniform Open Channel Flow and the Manning Equation
Course Highlights

In this online engineering PDH course several aspects of open channel flow will be presented, discussed and illustrated with examples.  The main topic of this course is uniform open channel flow, in which the channel slope, liquid velocity and liquid depth remain constant.  First, however, several ways of classifying open channel flow will be presented and discussed briefly.


Flow of a liquid may take place either as open channel flow or pressure flow.  Pressure flow takes place in a closed conduit such as a pipe, and pressure is the primary driving force for the flow.  For open channel flow, on the other hand the flowing liquid has a free surface at atmospheric pressure and the driving force is gravity.  Open channel flow takes place in natural channels like rivers and streams.  It also occurs in manmade channels such as those used to transport wastewater and in circular sewers flowing partially full.


This 2 PDH  online course is intended for hydrologists, civil engineers, hydraulic engineers, highway engineers and environmental engineers.  After completing this course you will have knowledge about the basic nature of flow in open channels and the common ways of classifying open channel flow (laminar or turbulent, steady state or unsteady state, uniform or non-uniform, and critical, subcritical or supercritical).  Practice in the use of the Manning equation for a variety of uniform open channel flow calculations will be gained through several worked examples.

Learning Objectives

This PE continuing education course is intended to provide you with the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • Knowing the differences between laminar & turbulent, steady state & unsteady state, and uniform & non-uniform open channel flow
  • Calculating the hydraulic radius for flow of a specified depth in an open channel with specified cross-sectional shape and size
  • Calculating the Reynolds Number for a specified open channel flow and determine whether the flow will be laminar or turbulent flow
  • Using tables such as the examples given in this course to determine a value for Manning roughness coefficient for flow in a manmade or natural open channel
  • Using the Manning Equation to calculate volumetric flow rate, average velocity, Manning roughness coefficient, or channel bottom slope, if given adequate information about a reach of open channel flow
  • Using the Manning Equation, with an iterative procedure, to calculate normal depth for specified volumetric flow rate, channel bottom slope, channel shape & size, and Manning roughness coefficient for a reach of open channel flow
  • Carrying out a variety of calculations for full or partially full flow under gravity in a circular pipe
Course Document

In this professional engineering CEU course, you need to review the course document titled "Uniform Open Channel Flow and the Manning Equation". 

To view, print and study the course document, please click on the following link(s):
Uniform Open Channel Flow and the Manning Equation (794 KB)
Course Quiz
Once you complete your course review, you need to take a multiple-choice quiz consisting of fifteen (15) questions to earn 2 PDH credits. The quiz will be based on the entire document.


The minimum passing score is 70%. There is no time limit on the quiz, and you can take it multiple times until you pass at no additional cost.
Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of the quiz, print your Certificate of Completion instantly. (Note: if you are paying by check or money order, you may print your Certificate of Completion after we receive your payment.) For your convenience, we will also email you your Certificate of Completion. Also, you can log in to your account at any time to access and print your Certificate of Completion.

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