Processes governing the flow redistribution in sharp river bends

Insight is provided in hydrodynamic processes governing the velocity redistribution in sharp river bends based on simulations of three recent experiments by means of Blanckaert and de Vriend's (2003, 2010) reduced-order nonlinear model without curvature restrictions. This model successfully simulated the flow redistribution and the secondary flow in all three experiments. The results indicate that the flow redistribution is primarily governed by topographic steering, curvature variations and secondary flow, in a broad range of different configurations, including mildly to sharply curved bends, narrow to shallow bends, smooth to rough bends, bends with additional complexities such as horizontal recirculation zones or patches of riverbed vegetation. The relative importance of these three dominant processes is case dependent, and controlled by the parameters Cf −1H/B, R/B and streamwise curvature variations. The first parameter characterizes a river reach, whereas the second and third parameters are characteristics of individual bends. Major differences exist between the hydrodynamic processes in mildly and sharply curved bends. First, velocity redistribution induced by curvature variations is negligible in mildly curved bends, but the dominant process in sharp bends. This result is relevant, because most meander models are based on the assumption of weak-curvature variations. Second, nonlinear hydrodynamic interactions play a dominant role in sharp bends, where mild-curvature models overpredict the secondary flow and in some cases even falsely identify it as the dominant process governing the velocity redistribution, which leads to unsatisfactory flow predictions. The reduction in secondary flow strength provoked by the nonlinear hydrodynamic interactions is accompanied by a reduction in the transverse bed slope, which reduces the effect of topographic steering

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Geomorphology, 163-164, 45-55

 Record created 2012-12-12, last modified 2018-03-17

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