A flume is an open artificial water channel, in the form of a gravity chute, that leads water from a diversion dam or weir completely aside a natural flow. Often, the flume is an elevated box structure (typically wood) that follows the natural contours of the land. These have been extensively used in hydraulic mining and working placer deposits for gold, tin and other heavy minerals. They are also used in the transportation of logs in the logging industry, electric power generation and to power various mill operations by the use of a waterwheel.

Specialist flumes

A flume can be used to measure the rate of flow. Specific designs include the Parshall, Palmer-Bowlus, Trapezoidal, and H-Flume. See flow measurement#open channel flow measurement. A sewer pipe can be used as a flow measurement flume by using the Manning formula.

In competitive swimming, specialized flumes with transparent sides are often employed by coaches to analyze a swimmer's technique. The speed of the flow is variable to accommodate the full spectrum of swimming styles and ability.

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