City Research Online

Large-eddy simulation of three-dimensional dunes in a steady, unidirectional flow. Part 2. Flow structures

Omidyeganeh, M. & Piomelli, U. (2013). Large-eddy simulation of three-dimensional dunes in a steady, unidirectional flow. Part 2. Flow structures. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 734, pp. 509-534. doi: 10.1017/jfm.2013.499


We performed large-eddy simulations of the flow over a series of three-dimensional (3D) dunes at laboratory scale. The bedform three-dimensionality was imposed by shifting a standard two-dimensional (2D) dune shape in the streamwise direction according to a sine wave. The turbulence statistics were discussed in Part 1 of this article (Omidyeganeh & Piomelli, J. Fluid Mech., vol. 721, 2013, pp. 454–483). Coherent flow structures and their statistics are discussed concentrating on two cases with the same crestline amplitudes and wavelengths but different crestline alignments: in-phase and staggered. The present paper shows that the induced large-scale mean streamwise vortices are the primary factor that alters the features of the instantaneous flow structures. Wall turbulence is insensitive to the crestline alignment; alternating high- and low-speed streaks appear in the internal boundary layer developing on the stoss side, whereas over the node plane (the plane normal to the spanwise direction at the node of the crestline), they are inclined towards the lobe plane (the plane normal to the spanwise direction at the most downstream point of the crestline) due to the mean spanwise pressure gradient. Spanwise vortices (rollers) generated by Kelvin–Helmholtz instability in the separated shear layer appear regularly over the lobe with much larger length scale than those over the saddle (the plane normal to the spanwise direction at the most upstream point of the crestline). Rollers over the lobe may extend to the saddle plane and affect the reattachment features; their shedding is more frequent than in 2D geometries. Vortices shed from the separated shear layer in the lobe plane undergo a three-dimensional instability while being advected downstream, and rise toward the free surface. They develop into a horseshoe shape (similar to the 2D case) and affect the whole channel depth, whereas those generated near the saddle are advected downstream and toward the bed. When the tip of such a horseshoe reaches the free surface, the ejection of flow at the surface causes ‘boils’ (upwelling events on the surface). Strong boil events are observed on the surface of the lobe planes of 3D dunes more frequently than in the saddle planes. They also appear more frequently than in the corresponding 2D geometry. The crestline alignment of the dune alters the dynamics of the flow structures, in that they appear in the lobe plane and are advected towards the saddle plane of the next dune, where they are dissipated. Boil events occur at a higher frequency in the staggered alignment, but with less intensity than in the in-phase alignment.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Cambridge Journals 2013. This version may have been revised following peer review but may be subject to further editorial input by Cambridge University Press.
Publisher Keywords: geophysical and geological flows; river dynamics; turbulence simulation
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of 3Ddunes_2.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Download (22MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login