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CFD Modeling

My interest in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models has been motivated by three factors: To date, I have primarily used a two-dimensional (2D) code called FESWMS and marketed by BOSS as SMS (Surface Water Modelling System). In general, with good topographic boundary conditions we can produce very reasonable simulations over short temporal scales and over small reach scales (e.g. figure at right). CFD modelling is very time consuming and computationally demanding, but is very helpful for gaining insight into research questions at sub-reach scales. However, 2D and 3D CFD models of meaningful spatial resolutions are impractical at catchment scales or over longer time-scales. Furthermore, with a few notable exceptions (CFD codes with sediment transport capability for sand-bedded rivers), most CFD codes are impractical to run with a dynamic bed boundary condition. These limitations have led me to explore a reduced-complexity class of models (cellular automaton).


Example CFD Simulation. A) Portion of a 2D CFD simulation of flow around and over boulder complexes in a spawning habitat enhancement site on the lower Mokelumne River. The intensity of blue is scaled to the water depth solution (dark blue is deep); the arrows represent depth-averaged flow directions with the color scaling to the velocity magnitude (red is slow, green and blue are fast). Notice the boulder complex in the upper right where the model effectively captures flow around the boulder, and the hydraulic jump over the submerged boulder complex. B) A photograph of the boulder complex in the upper right of figure A at the same flow as the simulation (approx 6 cumecs) ©2002 Wheaton (See Photo Copyright Disclaimer before downloading).


Publications using CFD Tools