Numerical simulation of flow in open-channels with hydraulic structures

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Kara, Sibel
Stoesser, Thorsten
Sturm, Terry W.
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Extreme hydrological events associated with global warming are likely to produce an increasing number of flooding scenarios resulting in significant bridge inundation and associated damages. During large floods, the presence of a bridge in an open channel triggers a highly turbulent flow field including 3D complex coherent structures around bridge structures. These turbulence structures are highly energetic and possess high sediment entrainment capacity which increases scouring around the bridge foundation and consequently lead to structural stability problems or even failure of the structure. Hence, understanding the complex turbulent flow field for these extreme flow conditions is crucial to estimate the failure risks for existing bridges and better design of future bridges. This research employs the method Large Eddy Simulation (LES) to predict accurately the 3D turbulent flow around bridge structures. The LES code is refined with a novel free surface algorithm based on the Level Set Method (LSM) to determine the complex water surface profiles. The code is used to analyze the hydrodynamics of compound channel flow with deep and shallow overbanks, free flow around a bridge abutment, pressure flow with a partially submerged bridge deck and bridge overtopping flow. All simulations are validated with data from complementary physical model tests under analogous geometrical and flow conditions. Primary velocity, bed shear stress, turbulence characteristics and 3D coherent flow structures are examined thoroughly for each of the flow cases to explain the hydrodynamics of these complex turbulent flows.
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