Despite the ratio of incoming discharges being recognized as a key parameter in open-channel confluence hydrodynamics, little is known about the flow patterns when the tributary provides more than 90% of the total discharge. This paper offers a systematic study of flow features when the tributary becomes increasingly dominant in a 90° confluence with a fixed concordant bed. Large-eddy simulations are used to investigate the three-dimensional complex flow patterns for three different discharge ratios. It is found that the tributary flow impinges on the opposing bank when the tributary flow becomes sufficiently dominant, causing a recirculating eddy in the upstream channel of the confluence, which induces significant changes in the incoming velocity distribution. Moreover, it results in stronger helicoidal cells in the downstream channel, along with zones of upwelling flow. In turn, the changed flow patterns also influence the mixing layer and the flow recovery. Finally, intermittent events of stronger upwelling flow are discerned. Improved understanding of flow patterns at confluences where the tributary is dominant is applicable to both engineering and earth sciences.
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