Water Science and Engineering 2019, 12(3) 235-243 DOI:   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wse.2019.09.005  ISSN: 1674-2370 CN: 32-1785/TV

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Open channel confluence
Bed elevation discordance
Three-dimensional numerical modelling
Large eddy simulation
Recirculation zone

Influence of bed elevation discordance on flow patterns and head losses in an open-channel confluence

Pedro Xavier Ramos a, *, Laurent Schindfessel a, João Pedro Pêgo b, Tom De Mulder a

a Department of Civil Engineering, Ghent University, Ghent 9000, Belgium
b Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Porto 4200-465, Portugal


Confluences play a major role in the dynamics of networks of natural and man-made open channels, and field measurements on river confluences reveal that discordance in bed elevation is common. Studies of schematized confluences with a step at the interface between the tributary and the main channel bed reveal that bed elevation discordance is an important additional control for the confluence hydrodynamics. This study aimed to improve understanding of the influence of bed elevation discordance on the flow patterns and head losses in a right-angled confluence of an open channel with rectangular cross-sections. A large eddy simulation (LES)-based numerical model was set up and validated with experiments by others. Four configurations with different bed discordance ratios were investigated. The results confirm that, with the increasing bed elevation discordance, the tributary streamlines at the confluence interface deviate less from the geometrical confluence angle, the extent of the recirculation zone (RZ) gets smaller, the ratio of the water depth upstream to that downstream of the confluence decreases, and the water level depression reduces. The bed elevation discordance also leads to the development of a large-scale structure in the lee of the step. Despite the appearance of the large-scale structure, the reduced extent of the RZ and associated changes in flow deflection/contraction reduce total head losses experienced by the main channel with an increase of the bed discordance ratio. It turns out that bed elevation discordance converts the lateral momentum from the tributary to streamwise momentum in the main channel more efficiently.

Keywords Open channel confluence   Bed elevation discordance   Three-dimensional numerical modelling   Large eddy simulation   Recirculation zone  
Received 2019-01-16 Revised 2019-05-22 Online: 2019-09-30 
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wse.2019.09.005
Corresponding Authors: Pedro Xavier Ramos
Email: Pedro.Ramos@ugent.be
About author:


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