River meanders form complex 3D flow patterns, including secondary flows and flow separation. In particular, the flow separation traps solutes and delays their transport via storage effects associated with recirculating flows. The simulation of the separated flows highly relies in the performance of turbulence models. Thus, these closure schemes can control dispersion behaviors simulated in rivers. This study performs 3D simulations to quantify the impact of the turbulence models on solute transport simulations in channels under different sinuosity conditions. The 3D Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations coupled with the
models are adopted for flow simulations. The 3D Lagrangian particle-tracking model simulates solute transport. An increase in sinuosity causes strong transverse gradients of mean velocity, thereby driving the onset of the separated flow recirculation along the outer bank. Here, the onset and extent of the flow separation are strongly influenced by the turbulence models. The
model fails to reproduce the flow separation or underestimates its size. As a result, the
model yields residence times shorter than those of other models. In contrast, the SST
model exhibits a strong tailing of breakthrough curves by generating more pronounced flow separation.
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