Scouring is one of the most common potential causes of bridge pile foundation failure with loss of life, economic and environmental impacts. Comprehensive studies on the numerical simulation of local scour around pile groups are still limited. This paper presents a numerical simulation using Flow-3D software to calculate the maximum sediment scour depth and investigate the mechanism around the groups of three cylinders in a tandem arrangement. A validation using the experimental study was carried out to confirm the reliability of the present numerical model. By using the Van Rijn transport rate equation and RNG k-ε turbulence model, the results of time evolution of scour depth and bed elevation contour show good agreement with the experimental study. The numerical simulation of three cylinders in a tandem arrangement were conducted with pile spacing ratios, G/D
of 2 and 3. The local scour is affected by the horseshoe vortex from the downflow driven by the downward pressure gradient and rotates in front of the pile and the high bed shear stress, triggered by flow acceleration. The deepest maximum local scour depth is always obtained by the front pile as a shield pile, followed by the piles behind. The trend of the maximum local scour depth in a tandem arrangement is in accordance with the experimental studies and has a better agreement than previous numerical studies with the same model setup. This means that the numerical model used to simulate pile groups is accurate and capable of calculating the depth of sediment scour.
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