Modelling time dependent flow fields over three dimensional dunes

R.J. Hardy, T.I. Marjoribanks, Dan Parsons, Arjan Reesink, Brendan Murphy, Philip Ashworth, J.L. Best

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


The flow field over dunes has been extensively measured in laboratory conditions and there isnow a general understanding of the nature of the flow over dunes formed under equilibrium flow conditions.However, fluvial systems typically experience unsteady flow and therefore the sediment-water interface is constantly responding and reorganizing to this unsteadiness, over a range of both spatial and temporal scales. This is primarily through adjustment of bed forms (including ripples, dunes and bar-forms) which then subse-quently alter the flow field. This paper investigates, through the application of a Large Eddy Simulation (LES) model, the influence of these roughness elements on the overall flow and the variation in flow re- sistance during a change in flow conditions. To provide boundary conditions and a validation dataset for theLES model, a series of physical experiments were undertaken in a flume, 16m long and 2m wide, where fine sand (D 50 of 239µm) was water worked under a range of unsteady hydraulic conditions that generated a series of quasi-equilibrium three-dimensional bed forms. During the experiments flow was measured with a series of acoustic Doppler velocimeters. On four occasions, the flume was drained and the bed topography measured with terrestrial LiDAR to create digital elevation models. LES was used to simulate the three-dimensional time-dependent flow fields over the four static bed topographies from the experiments. The numerically pre- dicted flows were analyzed by standard Reynolds decomposition approaches and a Lagrangian coherent flow structure identification method. The results show that superimposed bed forms, that are common to bed formfields adjusting to changes in flow conditions, can cause changes in the nature of the classical separated flow regions in the lee side of dunes. In particular, the number of locations where vortices are shed and the pointsof flow reattachment, which effect the time dependent prediction of shear stress, were found to alter substan-tially. This has significant implications for sediment entrainment and sediment transport dynamics and the re-sults enable improved process understanding of three dimensional nature of bed form adjustment to changesin flow conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the IAHR River Flow 2014 Conference
Place of PublicationLausanne
PublisherCRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781498704427
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2014
EventProceedings of the IAHR River Flow 2014 Conference - Lausanne, Switzerland, 2-5 September 2015
Duration: 2 Oct 2014 → …


ConferenceProceedings of the IAHR River Flow 2014 Conference
Period2/10/14 → …


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