City Research Online

Large eddy simulation of interacting barchan dunes in a steady, unidirectional flow

Omidyeganeh, M., Piomelli, U., Christensen, K.T. & Best, J.L. (2013). Large eddy simulation of interacting barchan dunes in a steady, unidirectional flow. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-EARTH SURFACE, 118(4), pp. 2089-2104. doi: 10.1002/jgrf.20149


We have performed large-eddy simulations of turbulent flow 4 over barchan dunes in a channel with different interdune spacings in the downstream direction at Reynolds number, Re∞ ≃ 26000 (based on the free 6 stream velocity and channel height). Simulations are validated against ex-perimental data (at Re∞ = 55460); the largest interdune spacing (2.38λ, where λ is the length of the barchan model) presents similar characteristics to the isolated dune in the experiment, indicating that at this distance the sheltering effect of the upstream dune is rather weak. We examine 3D realizations of the mean and instantaneous flow to explain features of the flow field relevant to sediment transport. Barchan dunes induce two counter-rotating streamwise vortices, along each of the horns, which direct high-momentum fluid toward the symmetry plane and low-momentum fluid near the bed away from the centerline. The flow near the bed, upstream of the dune, diverges from the centerline plane, decelerates and then rises on the stoss side of the dune while accelerating; the flow close to the centerline plane separates at the crest and reattaches on the bed. Away from the centerline plane and along the horns, flow separation occurs intermittently. The flow in the separation bubble is routed towards the horns and leaves the dune at their tips. The separated flow at the crest reattaches on the bed, except on the centerline symmetry plane of the dune, where a weak saddle point of separation ap- pears at the bed. The distribution of the bed shear-stress, characteristics of the separation and reattachment regions, and instantaneous wall turbulence are discussed. Characteristics of the internal boundary layer developing on the bed after the reattachment region are studied. The interdune spacing isfound to affect significantly the turbulent flow over the stoss side of the downstream dunes; at smaller interdune-spacings, coherent high- and low- speed streaks are shorter but stronger, and the spanwise normal Reynolds stress is larger. The turbulent kinetic energy budgets show the importance of the pressure transport and mean-flow advection in transporting energy from the overlying wake layer to the internal boundary layer over the stoss side of the closely-spaced dunes. The characteristics of the separated-shear layer are altered slightly at smaller interdune spacing; the separation bubble is smaller, the separated-shear layer is stronger, and the bed shear-stress is larger. Away from the dunes, typical wall-turbulence structures are observed, but coher- ent eddies generated in the separated-shear layer due to the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability are dominant near the dune. Coherent structures are generated more frequently at smaller interdune spacing; they move farther away from the bed, towards the free surface, and remain in between the horns. At larger interdune spacings, these coherent structures are advected in the spanwise direction with the mean streamwise vortices and can be observed outside of the dunes.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Science & Technology; Physical Sciences; Geosciences, Multidisciplinary; Geology; GEOSCIENCES, MULTIDISCIPLINARY; geophysical and geological flows; barchan dunes; turbulence simulation; large eddy simulation; SUBGRID-SCALE MODEL; SECONDARY AIR-FLOW; DESERT SAND DUNES; SEDIMENT TRANSPORT; TRANSVERSE DUNE; NUMERICAL-SIMULATION; AEOLIAN DUNES; STOSS SLOPE; WIND-TUNNEL; DYNAMICS
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Mathematics
School of Science & Technology > Engineering
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