Debris loads during flood events have been well-documented by forensic engineering field surveys of affected communities. Research has primarily focused on debris impact loading and less emphasis has been placed into quantifying the loads and effects associated with debris damming, which occurs when solid objects accumulate at the front of structures. The formation of the debris dam has been shown to results in increased drag forces, backwater rise, and flow accelerations which can influence the stability of the structure. This study examined the formation of a debris dam in steady-state conditions of debris common to flood-prone communities. The study determined that the hydraulic conditions, in particular flow velocity, influenced the formation of the debris dam. Additionally, the study examined the influence of the blockage ratio on the backwater rise as well as the drag coefficient.
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