The Chezy Equation

Chezy equation

In 1775, french hydraulic engineer Antoine de Chezy developed a formula for determining the flow velocity of water in an open channel:

V = c\sqrt{RS}


c = coefficent of roughness (m3/s or ft3/s)
R = hydraulic radius (m or ft) = Flow Area / Wetter Perimeter
S = channel slope (m/m or ft/ft)

In 1890, Manning published the value of c in the Chezy formula as:

c = \frac{R^{\frac{1}{6}}}{n}


n = manning’s coefficient of roughness

The Chezy equation is thus a precursor to the manning equation which is in widespread use today in the practice of hydrology, as it applies to culvert design.  The full Manning equation is:

V = \frac{R^{\frac{2}{3}}S^{\frac{1}{2}}} {n}

About Bernie Roseke

Bernie Roseke, P.Eng., PMP, is the president of Roseke Engineering. As a bridge engineer and project manager, he manages projects ranging from small, local bridges to multi-million dollar projects. He is also the technical brains behind ProjectEngineer, the online project management software for engineers. He is a licensed professional engineer, certified project manager, and six sigma black belt. He lives in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, with his wife and two kids.

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