Journal article

Large-eddy simulation of a curved open-channel flow over topography

Large-eddy simulation _LES_ is performed of a curved open-channel flow over topography based on the laboratory experiment by Blanckaert _“Topographic steering, flow circulation, velocity redistribution and bed topography in sharp meander bends,” Water Resour. Res., doi:10.1029/ 2009WR008303 _in press__. In the experiment, the large-scale bed topography had developed to a more or less stationary shape which was prescribed in the LES model as boundary conditions neglecting the small-scale dune forms by means of a straightforward immersed boundary scheme in combination with a simple wall-modeling approach. The small-scale dunes are accounted for in the numerical model by means of parametrization. Sensitivity of the flow to this roughness parametrization is examined by simulating the flow for three different roughness heights. It was found that, notwithstanding the coarse method of representing the dune forms, the qualitative agreement of the experimental results and the LES results is rather good. Comparison of the LES results with the Reynolds averaged numerical simulation results of Zeng et al. _“Flow and bathymetry in sharp open-channel bends: Experiments and predictions,” Water Resour. Res. 44, W09401, doi:10.1029/2007WR006303 _2008__ reveals surprisingly good agreement. This good agreement is explained by the minor importance of turbulence stress gradients in the contribution to the transverse and streamwise momentum balance. Moreover, it is found that in the bend the structure of the Reynolds stress tensor shows a tendency toward isotropy which enhances the performance of isotropic eddy viscosity closure models of turbulence. This observation is remarkable since highly anisotropic turbulence might well be expected considering the complex nature of the geometry. Furthermore, the LES results reveal a pronounced recirculation zone near the convex inner bank of the flume due to the shallowness of the flow and strong curvature of the flume. At the interface between the recirculation zone and the main flow, a curved mixing layer is identified as well as strong upwelling flow motion that is accompanied with large production of turbulent kinetic energy.


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