The analysis of two-layer exchange flow through contractions with a barotropic component treated by Armi & Farmer (1986) is extended to include exchange flows over sills and through a combination of a sill and contraction. It is shown that exchange over a sill is fundamentally different from exchange through a contraction. Control at the sill crest acts primarily through the deeper layer into which the sill projects and only indirectly controls the surface layer. This asymmetry in the control results in asymmetrical flows. The interface depth above the crest is not one half the total depth, as assumed in other studies by analogy with flow through contractions, but is somewhat deeper; the maximal exchange rate is less than for flow through a contraction of equal depth. When both a sill and a contraction are present, the contraction influences control at the sill crest only if it lies between the sill and the source of denser water. The response to barotropic flow is also asymmetrical: the transition to single-layer flow occurs at much lower speeds for a barotropic component in one direction than the other.
Results of the analysis are applied to exchange flow through the Strait of Gibraltar, which includes both a sill and a contraction. It is shown that maximal exchange conditions apply throughout part of the tidal cycle, and observations illustrate several of the analytical predictions for barotropic flows, including the formation of fronts, single-layer flow, submaximal exchange and reverse flow.