Modelling open channel flow

Hopton, Stephen (2010) Modelling open channel flow. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The study of open channel flow and dam breaking is not a new topic in computational fluid dynamics. However it has only recently started to gain significant attention from researchers using meshless methods, i.e. numerical modelling techniques which do not rely on the use of a mesh to discretise the domain. The research presented here is an attempt to use the meshless method known as smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) to simulate the flow of water down a channel.

Hydra, a pre-existing SPH code designed originally for astrophysical simulations, was converted to simulate water flow and then applied to the problem of dam bursting and flow over a weir. The conversion of the code to its new purpose was verified by simple code tests and then extensive validation was performed via the modelling of multiple dambreaks. The validation process can be split into three broad categories: 1) Comparison against the published data gained from other numerical methods both meshless and traditional. 2) Comparison against physical experiments performed by the author. 3) Comparison against independent experimental data found in the literature. Hydra in its newly converted form was satisfactorily applied to the majority of the tests presented to it and the same level of accuracy was achieved as with any of the other codes tested. A limit to the SPH method for performing this type of simulation was proposed based on particle number, smoothing length and initial conditions. A formula for the calculation of the number of ghost particles required to prevent spurious boundary pressures was also proposed. An analysis of various kernels used by different SPH researchers was presented and it was discovered that a relatively simple cubic spline kernel proved sufficient and that increasing complexity did not provide an increase in solution accuracy. The flow of water over a weir was presented next and results compared to published data which utilised a leading mesh based fluid simulation package. Results gained from Hydra simulations showed good downstream water level prediction but overestimation of upstream levels. A steady state solution was achieved within a similar timeframe compared to the grid based method.

It was concluded that use of the SPH method and the Hydra code in particular can provide solutions to problems involving water flow down a channel and accuracy on the dambreak tests was equal to any rival codes/methods tested. However when the complexity of the boundaries involved in the model increased there was some evidence that the CFX simulation package could be used to achieve a more accurate solution than Hydra. Suggestions for continuation of research into Hydra as a water flow modelling code are presented in addition to recommendations for improving the experimental methods used.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Wright, N.
Pearce, F.R.
Morvan, H.P.
Keywords: CFD, SPH, Open channel flow, flooding, dambreak
Subjects: T Technology > TC Hydraulic engineering. Ocean engineering
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Department of Civil Engineering
Item ID: 11594
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2011 11:39
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2017 11:52

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