A THREE-DIMENSIONAL FLOW MODEL FOR DIFFERENT CROSS-SECTION HIGH-VELOCITY CHANNELS
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ABSTRACT High velocity channels are typically designed to discharge surplus water during severe flood events, and these types of flow are distinguished by high velocity, usually supercritical. A major challenge in high velocity channel design is to predict the free surface flow. Being able to predict the free surface flow profile beforehand can assist in selecting the best design for the channel as a whole. When the flow encounters a bridge pier, the streamline of the flow is separated and pressure may drop to a minimum; in contrast, velocity rises to its maximum value. As a result, cavitation damage may occur. The present study has used the computational fluid dynamics code ANSYS-CFX to investigate a full scale, three-dimensional engineering flow simulation of high velocity channels with different cross sections. The simulations were carried out on a high performance computing HPC cluster with 32 nodes. The code is based on the finite volume method and the Volume of Fluid (VOF) method was used to predict the position of the free surface profile. The impact of variation of the following parameters was investigated in terms of the free surface flow profile, both along the centreline and the wall of the channel: the minimum cavity index, and maximum shear stress on both bed and wall of the channel and on bridge pier; aspect ratio (channel bed width/flow depth), bed and side slopes of the channel, different discharges, which are represented by Froude numbers; the length and thickness of the bridge pier. First, the code sensitivity tools for convergence were examined. For this purpose, cases with different mesh sizes were examined and the best size chosen, depending on computation expense and convergence. Then, different turbulence models, such as the standard k-ε, RNG k-ε, and SST turbulence models were tested. The results show that the standard k-ε gives satisfactory results. Next, efforts were made to establish whether the flow achieved steady state conditions. This involved simulating two cases, one with steady state and the other with a transient state. Comparison of the two results shows that the flow properties do not change after three seconds and stay stable thereafter, so the flow can be considered as attaining a steady state. Finally, symmetry within the model geometry was tested, as this would allow a reduction in computation time, with only one side of the symmetrical model needing to be simulated. Two cases were investigated: firstly a simulation of only half of the channel geometry, and secondly a full geometry simulation. A comparison of the results of each case showed that the flow can be considered symmetrical along the centreline of the channel. Next, the code was validated against both numerical and experimental published results. For the free surface flow profile and velocity distribution the published experimental and numerical work of Stockstill (1996) was used; the ANSYS-CFX code results agree more closely with Stockstill’s experimental data than Stockstill’s numerical data. To test for shear stress distribution on the wall, uniform flow within a trapezoidal cross section channel was investigated and the results compared with those presented in the literature. The comparison shows good agreement between the ANSYS-CFX and published experimental works, for the predicted shear stress distributions on the walls and the bed of the channel. In total, sixty cases were simulated in order to investigate the impact of variations in the aforementioned parameters on maximum flow depth (both along the centreline and the wall of the channel) minimum cavity index, and maximum shear stress on both bed and wall of the channel and on bridge pier. Finally, non-dimensional curves are provided in addition to formulae derived from the data regression, which are intended to provide useful guidelines for designers.
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