Investigation of Free Surface Turbulence Damping in RANS Simulations for Complex Free Surface Flows
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonWater. 2019, 11 (3), . 10.3390/w11030456
The modelling of complex free surface flows over weirs and in the vicinity of bridge piers is presented in a numerical model emulating open channel flow based on the Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations. The importance of handling the turbulence at the free surface in the case of different flow regimes using an immiscible two-phase RANS Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model is demonstrated. The free surface restricts the length scales of turbulence and this is generally not accounted for in standard two-equation turbulence modelling approaches. With the two-phase flow approach, large-velocity gradients across the free surface due to the large difference in the density of the fluids can lead to over-production of turbulence. In this paper, turbulence at the free surface is restricted with an additional boundary condition for the turbulent dissipation. The resulting difference in the free surface features and the consequences for the solution of the flow problem is discussed for different flow conditions. The numerical results for the free surface and stream-wise velocity gradients are compared to experimental data to show that turbulence damping at the free surface provides a better representation of the flow features in all the flow regimes and especially in cases with rapidly varying flow conditions.