Channel width, bedform length and turbulence: numerical investigation of flow dynamics over laboratory-scale pool-riffle sequences

Tokyay T., Sinha S.

ENVIRONMENTAL FLUID MECHANICS, vol.20, no.4, pp.819-842, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10652-019-09724-7
  • Page Numbers: pp.819-842


Spatial dimensions of bedforms relative to the flow depth are of great interest for both engineers and geoscientists, and continue to be an active area of research. These morphological features are of significant consequence for critical hydrodynamic parameters, which in turn has an impact on sediment and solute transport through the river system. In this study, we present results from three-dimensional large eddy simulation of flows over such bedforms in a straight channel. Rigid three-dimensional pool-riffle structures occupying the full span of the channel were considered as the macro-bedforms. The presence of pool-riffle affects the spatial heterogeneity of the flow parameters such as lateral flow concentration. We observed that the lateral flow concentration increases in convective deceleration (CDF) zone with peak values at the central plane in channels with narrower span. The peak values shift from the central plane towards sidewall in channels with larger width. Flow recovery is found to be faster in narrower channels in the conducted simulations. High-magnitude counter-rotating vortices (HCRVs) in CDF and pool transport the momentum of the flow towards the centre of the channel. Larger channel width ensures persistent presence of HCRV in CDF and pool. Longer riffle length in the streamwise direction is observed to further alter the lateral flow concentration compared to the shorter riffles. Instantaneous bed shear stress mapping reveals the presence of coherent high- and low-velocity streaks on riffles. The coherence of these structures is lost in CDF and pool accompanied with an increase in turbulence represented by an increase in turbulent kinetic energy and Reynolds stress.