Introduction: Weir is defined as a barrier over which the water flows in an open channel. The edge or surface over which the water flows is called the crest. The overflowing sheet of water is the nappe. If the nappe discharges into the air, the weir has free discharge. If the discharge is partly under water, the weir is submerged or drown.
Types of Weirs: A weir with a sharp upstream corner or edge such that the water springs clear of the crest is a sharp-crested weir. All other weirs are classed as weirs not sharp crested. Sharp-crested weirs are classified according to the shape of the weir opening, such as rectangular weirs, triangular or V-notch weirs, trapezoidal weirs, and parabolic weirs. Weirs not sharp crested are classified according to the shape of their cross section, such as broad-crested weirs, triangular weirs, and trapezoidal weirs.
Labyrinth weir: A labyrinth weir uses trapezoidal-shaped weir wall geometry (plan view) to increase the weir length. They are versatile structures and can be modified to fit many applications.
Broad-crested weir: A broad-crested weir is a flat-crested structure, with a long crest compared to the flow thickness. When the crest is "broad", the streamlines become parallel to the crest invert and the pressure distribution above the crest is hydrostatic. The hydraulic characteristics of broad-crested weirs were studied during the 19th and 20th centuries. Practical experience showed that the weir overflow is affected by the upstream flow conditions and the weir.
Sharp crested weir (fayoum weir): A sharp-crested weir allows the water to fall cleanly away from the weir. Sharp crested weirs are typically 1/4" or thinner metal plates. Sharp crested weirs come in many different shapes such as rectangular, V-notch and Cipolletti weirs. They are not very accurate or reliable especially when reading and measuring from an orifice.
Combination weir: The sharp crested weirs can be considered into three groups according to the geometry of weir:
a) the rectangular weir, b) the V or triangular notch and c) special notches, such as trapezoidal, circular or parabolic weirs. For accurate flow measurement over a wider range of flow rates, a combination weir combines a V-notch weir with a rectangular weir. An example is manufactured by Thel-Mar Company and has flow rates engraved along the side of the weir. This is typically used in pipes ranging from 4" to 15" in diameter.
V-notch weir: The V-notch weir is a triangular channel section, used to measure small discharge values. The upper edge of the section is always above the water level, and so the channel is always triangular simplifying calculation of the cross-sectional area. V-notch weirs are preferred for low discharges as the head above the weir crest is more sensitive to changes in flow compared to rectangular weirs.
Minimum Energy Loss weir: The concept of the Minimum Energy Loss (MEL) structure was developed by Gordon McKay in 1971. The first MEL structure was the Redcliffe storm waterway system, also called Humpybong Creek drainage outfall, completed in 1960 in the Redcliffe Peninsula in Queensland, Australia. It consisted of a MEL weir acting as a streamlined drop inlet followed by a 137 m long culvert discharging into the Pacific Ocean. The weir was designed to prevent beach sand being washed in and choking the culvert, as well as to prevent salt intrusion in Humpybong Creek without afflux. The structure is still in use and passed floods greater than the design flow in several instances without flooding (McKay 1970, Chanson 2007).