TY - JOUR

T1 - A unifying computational fluid dynamics investigation on the river-like to river-reversed secondary circulation in submarine channel bends

AU - Giorgio-Serchi, F.

AU - Peakall, J.

AU - Ingham, D.B.

AU - Burns, A.D.

PY - 2011/6/18

Y1 - 2011/6/18

N2 - A numerical model of saline density currents across a triple-bend sinuous submerged channel enclosed by vertical sidewalls is developed. The unsteady, non-Boussinesq, turbulent form of the Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes equations is employed to study the flow structure in a quasi-steady state. Recursive tests are performed with axial slopes of 0.08°, 0.43°, 1.5°, and 2.5°. For each numerical experiment, the downstream and vertical components of the fluid velocity, density, and turbulent kinetic energy are presented at four distinct locations within the channel cross section. It is observed that a crucial change in the flow pattern at the channel bends is observed as the axial slope is increased. At low values of the axial slope a typical river-like pattern is found. At an inclination of 1.5°a transition starts to occur. When the numerical test is repeated with an axial slope of 2.5°, a clearly visible river-reversed secondary circulation is achieved. The change in the cross-sectional flow pattern appears to be associated with the spatial displacement of the core of the maximum downstream fluid velocity. Therefore, the axial slope in this series of experiments is linked to the velocity structure of the currents, with the height of the velocity maximum decreasing as a function of increasing slope. As such, the axial slope should be regarded also as a surrogate for flows with enhanced density or sediment stratification and higher Froude numbers. The work unifies the apparently paradoxical experimental and numerical results on secondary circulation in submarine channels.

AB - A numerical model of saline density currents across a triple-bend sinuous submerged channel enclosed by vertical sidewalls is developed. The unsteady, non-Boussinesq, turbulent form of the Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes equations is employed to study the flow structure in a quasi-steady state. Recursive tests are performed with axial slopes of 0.08°, 0.43°, 1.5°, and 2.5°. For each numerical experiment, the downstream and vertical components of the fluid velocity, density, and turbulent kinetic energy are presented at four distinct locations within the channel cross section. It is observed that a crucial change in the flow pattern at the channel bends is observed as the axial slope is increased. At low values of the axial slope a typical river-like pattern is found. At an inclination of 1.5°a transition starts to occur. When the numerical test is repeated with an axial slope of 2.5°, a clearly visible river-reversed secondary circulation is achieved. The change in the cross-sectional flow pattern appears to be associated with the spatial displacement of the core of the maximum downstream fluid velocity. Therefore, the axial slope in this series of experiments is linked to the velocity structure of the currents, with the height of the velocity maximum decreasing as a function of increasing slope. As such, the axial slope should be regarded also as a surrogate for flows with enhanced density or sediment stratification and higher Froude numbers. The work unifies the apparently paradoxical experimental and numerical results on secondary circulation in submarine channels.

U2 - 10.1029/2010JC006361

DO - 10.1029/2010JC006361

M3 - Article

SN - 0148-0227

VL - 116

SP - 1

EP - 19

JO - Journal of Geophysical Research

JF - Journal of Geophysical Research

IS - C6

ER -