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Water 2017, 9(2), 110; doi:10.3390/w9020110

Effects of Different In-Stream Structure Representations in Computational Fluid Dynamics Models—Taking Engineered Log Jams (ELJ) as an Example

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16801, USA
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Received: 15 November 2016 / Accepted: 3 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stream Channel Stability, Assessment, Modeling, and Mitigation)
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Abstract

In-streamstructurescontributegreatlytothebiodiversityinstreamsandplayanimportant role in restoring and protecting rivers. They usually have complex geometries. To evaluate their impact and effectiveness, computational models are increasingly used. However, how to faithfully represent them in computer models remains a challenge. Often, simplifications have to be made. This work evaluated the effects of geometric simplification of an example in-stream structure, an engineered log jam (ELJ), in computational models. Three different representations were considered, namely full resolution, the porous media model and the solid barrier model. The turbulent flow was resolved with large eddy simulation (LES). First, the simulations were validated with a physical experiment in a flume. Then, the results from the three models were comparedandanalyzedonvariousaspectsrelatedtothestabilityandfunctionalitiesofthestructures. Unsurprisingly, it is found that the porous media model and the solid barrier model, which are computationally economic, can describe the flow dynamics only to some extent. From the calibration ofdragforceandwakelength,wefoundthattheequivalentgrainsized50 intheporositymodelshould scale as the key element diameter for the simulated ELJ. A wake length scale analysis was performed for the semi-bounded flow around this in-stream structure near the bank. The length estimator in the literature for unbounded vegetation patches can be used with modifications. The results also show that the flow passing through the porous in-stream structure has a significant impact on mean velocity, turbulence kinetic energy, sediment transport capacity and integral wake length. Since geometrically-fully-resolved simulations are not currently feasible for engineering practices, the following suggestions are made based on this study. If the near-field and wake are important for the purpose of the structure, the well-calibrated porosity model seems to perform better than the solid barrier model. However, care needs to be taken when interpreting the results because this work also identified substantial loss of physical information with the porosity model. When the emphasis is the far field away from the structure, both the porosity model and the solid barrier model give comparable results View Full-Text
Keywords: in-stream structure; open channel flow; porous media flow; geometric complexity; numerical experiment; CFD in-stream structure; open channel flow; porous media flow; geometric complexity; numerical experiment; CFD
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Xu, Y.; Liu, X. Effects of Different In-Stream Structure Representations in Computational Fluid Dynamics Models—Taking Engineered Log Jams (ELJ) as an Example. Water 2017, 9, 110.

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