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Belgrade 2012

Kinetic Energy in a large stormwater detention basin

Hexiang Yan, Gislain Lipeme Kouyi*, Jean-Luc Bertrand-Krajewski

University of Lyon, INSA Lyon, LGCIE (Laboratory of Civil and Environmental Engineering)

F-69621, Villeurbanne, France

*Corresponding author, e-mail: gislain.lipeme-kouyi@insa-lyon.fr

ABSTRACT

The effect of surface roughness on near bed turbulence is of great importance for

sediments deposition and entrainment in stormwater detention basin. In this paper,

effects of surface roughness in sedimentation processes have been investigated by

means of RANS approach (CFD technique based on Reynolds Averaged Navier

Stokes equations). Previous work has showed the ability of CFD modelling to

allow the identification of the preferential deposition zones in a large detention

basin. The new boundary condition on the bottom was based on the interaction

between near bed turbulence and particle settling characteristics such as V80 settling

velocity. In order to further clearly understand the effects of surface roughness on

sedimentation, simulations with different surface roughness have been carried out

and measurements of sediment thickness and distribution have been performed in

the Django Reinhardt large stormwater detention basin in Chassieu (close to Lyon,

France). Analysis of simulated results compared to measurement data reveals that

the contour of preferential deposition zones linked to near-bed turbulent kinetic

energy distribution is sensitive to surface roughness. The maximum value of the

near-bed turbulent kinetic energy distribution in deposition zones is sensitive to

surface roughness and is lower than V802 .

KEYWORDS

Detention basin, surface roughness, turbulent kinetic energy, sediment distribution

INTRODUCTION

Turbulent boundary layer over roughness elements is of great interest in hydraulic engineering. Effects

of surface roughness on sediments distribution are of great importance as reminded by Papanicolaou et

al. (2001). Turbulent boundary layer over a rough surface contains a roughness sublayer within which

the flow is directly influenced by the individual roughness elements and is not spatially homogenous.

The height of this sub-layer presumably depends on the height of the roughness elements.

Experimental and numerical studies have been performed to investigate the effects of surface

1

roughness on wall bounded turbulence to get a clearer picture of the impact of roughness in turbulent

boundary layer. Perry et al. (1987) performed experiments using both three dimensional diamondshaped mesh roughness and streamwise wave length. They observed that smooth and rough wall

boundary layer have quite different structures. Papanicolaou et al. (2001) provided experimental

evidence that various packing density configuration encountered in natural gravel bed streams affect

the turbulence characteristics of the flow. Shafi and Antonia (1997) measured the root mean square

(rms) vorticity fluctuations normalized by the friction velocity and boundary layer thickness. They

found that the effects of roughness on the vorticity is less pronounced than on the Reynolds stress,

which conflicts with the traditional picture of wall similarity.

Recently computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is of increasing interest for many engineering fields. In

urban drainage systems, CFD technique could be used to evaluate actual water treatment facilities and

to improve the design procedure (Wood et al., 1998; Krishnappan and Marsalek, 2002; Hribersek et

al., 2011). In traditional hydraulics the influence of roughness has been cataloged in the form of a

roughness coefficient based on data obtained from a wide range of field and laboratory observations

(Souders and Hirt, 2002). Typically roughness coefficients are defined in one of the three ways: (1)

Chzy resistance coefficient C, (2) Mannings coefficient n, or (3) equivalent sand grain roughness

(ks). When a turbulence transport model (e.g., k - model) is used in CFD simulations, there must be a

suitable boundary condition for the turbulence quantities (e.g., turbulent kinetic energy k and turbulent

dissipation ) only at the inlet and outlet boundary of the computational domain. Regarding the

influence of the wall roughness, the so-called wall functions are widely used for that purpose. It is

assumed that a logarithmic velocity profile (called log-law of wall) exists near a wall, and a modified

law of wall is often used to account for the roughness effect on the wall.

A detailed modelling of fluid flow and pollutants transport in a full scale stormwater detention tank is

a difficult task due to the complex geometry and variable time-dependent processes (deposition, nearbed transport, resuspension, etc) as well as limitation in computational resources in the case of a large

structure (due to a lot of computational mesh elements). Preliminary work on modelling of

hydrodynamic and solid transport in a large stormwater detention basin was undertaken in order to

reproduce the preferential sediment zone and efficiency (Yan et al., 2011). A new boundary condition

was proposed to determine particle state (deposited or suspended) near the bottom using Lagrangian

particle tracking approach to simulate solid transport in fluid flow. This boundary condition was based

on the interaction between the near bed turbulent kinetic energy and near bed particles energy thanks

to settling velocity. In fact, Bagnold (1966) proposed one of the first criteria to estimate the threshold

condition for particle suspension. This was based on the assumption that particles sustain in

suspension by the fraction of turbulent energy. From this point of view, the near bed turbulent kinetic

energy plays an important role in the settling processes. Unfortunately, few studies have been carried

out in order to further highlight effects of roughness on sedimentation processes which are strongly

impacted by near bed turbulence characteristics. Therefore the present paper aims to study the

sensitivity of the near bed turbulence quantities (particularly Turbulent Kinetic Energy TKE) to the

bed surface roughness in the Django Reinhardt large stormwater basin in Chassieu (Rhne, France),

which is a part of OTHU programme site (Field Observatory in Urban Hydrology www.othu.org).

2

2.1

METHODOLOGY

Experimental field site

The Django Reinhardt detention-infiltration facility was built in 1975 in order to store stormwater

from a 185 ha industrial catchments during wet weather time. The facility consists of two sub-basins

2

connected by a 60 cm diameter pipe. The first one is a detention and settling basin (Figure. 1a) where

the stormwater is stored before being discharged downstream to the infiltration sub-basin. The bottom

of the detention basin is sealed with bitumen and is equipped with a low flow trapezoidal channel

collecting and guiding the dry weather flow towards outlets. The sides of the detention basin are

covered with the plastic liner. Stormwater enters the detention basin via two 1.6 m diameter circular

concrete pipes (labelled as inlet 1 and inlet 2 in Figure.1a). In order to improve the settling process, a 1

m high detention wall was built in 2004. There are three 19 cm

diameter outletSAMPLING

orifices (labelled o1, o2

SEDIMENT

and o3 in Figure. 1a) and an overflow weir in the detention wall. The stormwater outflow towards the

infiltration sub-basin is limited to 350 L/s by a regulator (Hydroslide gate).

outlet

(a)

inlet

(b)

Figure 1. (a) Sketch of the Django Reinhardt basin (Bardin and Barraud, 2004) and (b) Sediment trap

locations in the basin (Torres, 2008)

JLBK, INSA de Lyon, 24 Nov. 2006

The inlet and outlet discharges are calculated from simultaneous measurements of water depth and

velocity in the pipes. Three water depth sensors are located on the bottom of the basin (labelled h 1, h2

and h3 in Figure 1a). All variables are recorded with a 2 minute time step to a S50 Sofrel data logger.

Twelve sediment traps installed on the bottom of the basin collect settled sediments during storm

events (Figure. 1b). The sediment traps are numbered according to their altitude, from 1 (lowest) to 12

(highest). After a storm event, samples made up of a mixture of water and sediments are transported as

quickly as possible to the laboratory, where the particles settling velocity and particle size distributions

are measured respectively according to the VICAS protocol and Laser Particle Sizer (LPS) technique

(Torres, 2008).

2.2

Sediments measurement

Lot of sediments has been accumulated in the detention basin since the rehabilitation in 2004. In order

to analyze the spatial distribution of the cumulate sediment in the basin, the profile of preferential

sediments zone and discrete point sediment thickness were measured. The layout of spatial interval of

measurement point is 5 m for the preferential sediment zone (left part of basin, Figure 2). Refined

spacing of measurement points has been used in the centre of the basin and measurement points have

been distributeded more sparsely close to the inlet of the basin (shown in Figure 2).

52

2.3

Numerical model

The purpose of this part is to highlight the used numerical models integrated into the CFD software

package Ansys Fluent (version 14.0). The key models employed are based on the Reynolds Averaged

Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations. The k- renormalization group (RNG) model was employed to

involve the turbulent phenomena. It is better than standard k- model since more features are included

in this model. While the standard k- model is a high-Reynolds number model, the k- RNG model

provides an analytically derived differential formula for effective viscosity that accounts for lowReynolds number effects as well. These features make the k- RNG model more accurate and reliable

for a wider class of flows than the standard k- model. Compared to the standard k- model and the k RNG model, RSM (Reynolds Stress Model) is more time consuming as it needs to solve more

equations. Dufresne et al. (2009) and Mignot et al. (2011) tested the standard k- model, the k- RNG

model and the RSM in various urban drainage structures (three combined sewer overflow chambers

for solid separation and open channel junctions). They found that the RSM model did not give

significant improvement compared to the results deriving from the k- RNG model.

The surface roughness effects on turbulence quantities and bed shear stress is considered through the

modified law-of-the-wall for roughness. The standard wall functions in Ansys Fluent are based on the

Launder and Spalding (1974) work and have been most widely used in industrial flows (ANSYS, 2011;

Souders and Hirt , 2002). Experiments in rough pipes and channels indicate that the mean velocity

distribution is influenced by the near rough walls and in the usual semi-logarithmic scale, has the same

slope (1/) but a different intercept (Tachie et al., 2004; Akinlade et al., 2004). Thus, the law-of-thewall for mean velocity impacted by rough wall has the form (ANSYS, 2011):

u pu*

where

ln( E

u* y p

) B

(1)

u* C1 4 k 1 2

E= empirical constant (= 9.793)

up= mean velocity of the fluid at the near-wall node P

k= turbulent kinetic energy at the near-wall node P

yp= distance from point to the wall

= dynamic viscosity of the fluid

B is a roughness function that quantifies the shift of the intercept due to roughness

effects. B depends on the type (uniform sand, rivets, threads, ribs, mesh-wire, etc.) and size of the

roughness. There is no universal roughness function valid for all types of roughness. However, for a

sand-grain roughness and similar types of uniform roughness elements B has been found to be wellcorrelated with the non-dimensional roughness height, K s K su* / , where Ks is the physical

roughness height.

The turbulent flow regime is subdivided into three regimes, and the formulas proposed by Cebeci and

Bradshaw (1977) based on Nikuradse's data are adopted to compute the roughness function, B , for

each regime (ANSYS, 2011).

For the smooth regime (Ks+ < 2.25): B 0

For the transitional regime (2.25 < Ks+ < 90):

(2)

K 2.25

ln s

Cs K s sin 0.4258 ln K s 0.811

87.75

(3)

2.4

ln 1 Cs K s

(4)

The flow regime in a detention basin can be described as transient due to the complex geometry of

basin, rough surface conditions (concrete and vegetated sediments at the bottom), variable inflow and

outflow rate, etc. Preliminary tests have been carried out and they proved that a steady state simulation

was able to predict the preferential sediment zone and evaluate the basin efficiency (Yan et al., 2011).

Figure 3 shows a curve of water depth h1 against inflow rate in the basin for the reference storm event

on 31/5/2007 (Torres, 2008). The measured water depth was approximately kept in a same level for a

period of time during the rainfall event (Figure 3). Hence the corresponding water level was chosen as

free surface level. Meanwhile, the inflow rate of 350L/s was chosen since the outflow rate is limited

by a regulator which enables fixing the outflow rate to 350 L/s. A quasi-steady state condition can be

accepted under this situation. As shown in Figure 1(a),it was observed that there was no sediments in

the second compartment close to the outlet. Thus, in order to reduce the number of computational

meshes and then to save computation time, this second part of the basin is cut in order to simplify

geometry and boundary conditions as shown in Figure 4.

Django Reinhardt basin

The mesh-independent tests have been carried out. Three different mesh resolutions have been

established and tested: one coarse mesh size with 650 000 cells, a medium mesh size of 850 000 cells

and a refined mesh size of 1000 000 cells. Fairly similar results were obtained with the medium and

refined resolution mesh. Thus the medium resolution mesh with 850 000 cells was used for all

simulations.

The following boundary Conditions have been used. Uniform velocity distribution was set at the inlet

cross-section, corresponding to the inflow rate of 0.35m3/s (corresponding to the outflow rate limited

by a regulator valve). Three orifices and overflow weir were set as pressure-outlet. A specific pressure

was set at orifice 2 as it was completely submerged under free water surface. For the free water

surface, a symmetry condition was set instead of Volume-of-Fluid (VOF) model for air-water

interface capturing in order to reduce the computational time. The symmetry condition means that zero

normal velocity and zero normal gradients of all variables at the symmetry plane. It can be used to

model zero-shear slip walls in viscous flows (Dufresne, 2008; Stovin et al., 2008). The surrounding

wall sides were considered as smooth since they were covered with a plastic liner and were set as no

slip condition with zero roughness height. Lastly, the bottom of basin was considered as rough surface

and was set as no slip wall condition with non-zero roughness height. Initially the bottom was covered

by concrete and later a part of it was covered by accumulated sediments with or without vegetation.

5

However, it was difficult to determine equivalent roughness height for vegetated sediment surface.

Therefore, the bottom was considered to be covered by the concrete and the equivalent sand grain

roughness height was estimated by means of equation (5) proposed by Hager (2010). Table 1 shows a

series of Strickler coefficients K and equivalent sand grain roughness heights ks for concrete (Graf and

Altinakar, 2000).

1

K k s 6 6.5 g

(5)

Table 1. Strickler roughness coefficient K and equivalent sand grain roughness height ks.

Cases

ks1

ks2

ks3

ks4

K(m1/3/s)

75

65

55

50

ks (m)

0.00040

0.00094

0.0026

0.0045

3

3.1

Spatial sediments distribution

A lot of sediment settled during the storm event and accumulated in the basin since the rehabilitation

of basin in 2004. Figure 5 shows evidently the top view of sediments in the bottom of detention basin

in 2007. Figure 6 shows colour contours of sediment thickness according to the measurement data in

2011, which was processed using Matlab software. The blank part means almost no sediment in the

basin or very thin. As shown in Figure 6, the important amount of sediments was located in the centre

zone of the basin. Initially, the bottom of the basin was covered by bare concrete. Later, part of the

bottom of basin was covered by the settled sediment. Vegetation was also observed on the thick

sediment layer. It is expected that the effect of surface roughness existed due to a rough bare concrete

and cumulate sediment layer with or without vegetation.

Concrete area

vegetation

Google Earth

thickness(m) measurement in 2011

3.2

Four simulation cases have been carried out with the same configuration except for varying the

parameter of bottom surface roughness height. Different concrete resistance coefficients were tested.

ks1

ks2

ks3

ks4

Figure 7. Similarity between observed deposition zones and simulated Bed TKE distribution according

to ksi (i=1, 2, 3, 4) values related to different surface roughness. The simulated deposition zones

correspond to bottom area where TKE is lower than kc=Vs2 .Vs is the settling velocity and

represents a coefficient which enables to account for uncertainties on settling velocity assessment and

the cohesion of particles, etc.

Dufresne (2008) reveals that the distribution of bed turbulent kinetic energy (BTKE) under a critical

value (0.00010-0.00030m2/s2) is very similar to the deposition zone in a pilot tank. Previous work in

the same investigation (Yan et al., 2011) suggested that particle settling velocity (Vs measured with

VICAS protocol, Torres, 2008) could be used to estimate the critical value to determine the particle

state (e.g., deposited or re-suspended) based on the assumption that near bed turbulent kinetic energy

has a significant influence on the motion of particle close to the bed. According to the previous study,

the V80(=23.5m/h) settling velocity was used to estimate the critical value. Then kc=V802 is the critical

turbulent kinetic energy. The bed turbulent kinetic energy (BTKE) distributions of simulations with

different bed surface roughness height were shown in Figure 7 (ks1, ks2, ks3 and ks4). Regarding the

observed spatial sediment distribution in 2011 and the top view of sediment observation in 2007, all

the simulated BTKE distributions showed similar outer contour of preferential sediment zone except at

the downstream corner near the overflow weir (Figure 7). It suggests that the outer contour was

affected slightly by the surface roughness. It also reveals that the BTKE with an appropriate critical

value could enable to identify the preferential sediment outer contour in the full scale detention basin.

Among all cases, contour simulated with ks1 is similar to the observed one if one just focuses on

upstream blank part (shown in Figure 7 with black trapezoid). The simulation with ks4 shows the best

accordance if one just focuses on central thickness of sediments (shown in Figure 7 with red polygon).

With the assumption that the low BTKE corresponds to the thicker sediment layer, this might suggest

that the sand grain roughness height for sediment layer should be higher than that for bare concrete.

Difference of the zone of outer contour indeed existed but the global shape was similar. For example,

all the cases represent almost the same low value BTKE zone in front of orifice 1 (see Figure 4

labelled with o1) which corresponded to the observation.

Checked points

p2

p1

p4

p3

Figure 8. Layout of the checked points and vertical TKE distribution according to different roughness

8

In order to further understand the effects of surface roughness on the near bed turbulence, local

vertical TKE distribution analysis were carried out at several specific locations. The position of these

local points is shown in Figure 8 (the upper). As shown in Figure 8 (p1, p2, p3 and p4) the near bed

turbulent kinetic energy is affected by the surface roughness and hence is sensitive to the surface

roughness. Basically, the vertical turbulent kinetic energy distribution shows similar profile at almost

all points and for all rough surfaces the maximum bed turbulent kinetic energy is obtained close to the

bed due to the influence of the rough element on the bed (see p1, p3 and p4 in Figure 8). The similar

vertical profile was also obtained with experimental investigation carried out by Dey et al. (2011). But

this is not always the same (see p2 in Figure 8). At p2, simulated secondary currents were observed.

This might be the reason for the difference of vertical TKE profile between p2 and the others. In fact

more vertical secondary currents above the gutter were observed looking into the vertical plane

regarding the gutter stream. They were sensitive to the surface roughness.

kc

(a)

(b)

Figure 9. (a) Global max BTKE at the inlet point versus different rough bed surface and (b) peak

values of TKE according to different rough surface

Figure 9a shows evidently that the global maximum BTKE increases with the increase of the sand

grain roughness height. The global maximum BTKE is often observed near the inlet zone. Figure 9b

reveals that the peak near-bed TKE values show a slight downward trend with the increasing of the

non-dimensional roughness Ks+. The BTKE values remain lower than the threshold kc for points p2, p3

and p4 where sediment depositions are always observed. However, no clear relation has been found in

our case between BTKE values and surface roughness height.

CONCLUSIONS

With the attempt to clearly understand the effect of surface roughness on the near bed turbulence

quantities in a large detention basin, simulations with different surface roughness have been carried

out. Measurement of sediment thickness and distribution were conducted in field site. Comparison

between simulated and observed contours of sediments zones was performed. Analysis of simulated

results compared to observed data reveals that the near bed turbulent kinetic energy distribution could

be used in order to estimate the outer contour of preferential sediment zone. The outer contour is

slightly sensitive to the surface roughness. The maximum value of the near-bed turbulent kinetic

energy distribution in deposition zones is sensitive to surface roughness and is lower than kc. However,

no clear relation has been found between BTKE values and surface roughness height. Different

surface roughness should be set for bare concrete surface and sediment layer as well as other inlet flow

rates.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors thank the OTHU (Field Observatory in Urban Hydrology) at Lyon France and IMU for

scientific support and for financing, ANR (CABRRES Project CESA programme) for financing this

project and the Chinese Scholarship Council for PhD funding for CFD modelling of hydrodynamics

and sedimentation in stormwater detention basin.

REFERENCES

ANSYS Inc. (2011). ANSYS FLUENT Theory guide release 14.0. Canonsburg. U.S.

Akinlade O.G.,Bergstrom D.J., Tachie M.F. and Castillo L.(2004). Outer flow scaling of smooth and

rough wall turbulent boundary layers. Experiments in Fluids, 37, 604-612.

Bagnold R.A.(1966). An approach to the sediment transport problem for general. GEOLOGICAL

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Bardin J.P. and Barraud S. (2004). Aide au diagnostic et la restructurqtion du bassin de rtention de

Chassieu(Diagnostic and restructuration aid of the retention basin in Chassieu). Rapports pour le

compte de la Direction de lEau du Grand Lyon. INSA de Lyon. Villeurbanne, France.

Cebeci T. And Bradshaw M.G.(1977). Momentum Transfer in Boundary layers. Hemisphere

Publishing Corporation, New York.

Dey S., Sarkar S. and Solari L.(2011). Near-bed turbulence characteristics at the entrainment threshold

of sediment beds. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, 137(9), 945-958.

Dufresne M., Vazquez J., Terfous A., Ghenaim A., and Poulet J.-B. (2009). CFD modelling of solid

separation in three combined sewer overflow chamber. Journal of Environmental Engineering,

135(9), 776-787.

Dufresne M.(2008). La modlisation 3D du transport solide dans les bassins en assainissement : du

pilote exprimental la louvrage rel (Three-dimensional modeling of sediment transport in

sewer detention tanks : physical model and real-life applicaiton). PhD thesis, INSA de

Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.

Graf W.H. and Altinakar M.S.(2000).Hydraulique Fluviale: coulement et phnomnes de transport

dans les canaux gomtrie simple(Fluvial Hydraulics: Flow and transport processes in

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Romandes.

Hribersek M., Zajdela B., Hribernik A. and Zadravec M. (2011). Experimental and numerical

investigations of sedimentation of porous wastewater sludge flocs. Water Research, 45, 17291735.

Hager W.H.(2010). Wastewater Hydraulics: theory and practice. 2nd edn, Springer, Switzerland.

Krishnappan B.G.and Marsalek J.(2002). Modelling of flocculation and transport of cohesive seiment

from an on-stream stormwater detention pond. Water Research, 36, 3849-3859.

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Methods Appl. Mech. Eng., 3, 269-289.

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Mignot E., Bonakdari H., Knothe P., Lipeme Kouyi G., Bessette A., Rivire N., Bertrand-Krajewski

J.-L. (2011). Experiments and 3D simulations of flow structures in junctions and of their

influence on location of flowmeters. 12th International Conference on Urban Drainage, Porto

Alegre, Brazil, 11-16 September 2011.

Papanicolaou A.N., Diplas P., Dancey C.L., and Blakarishnan M. (2001). Surface roughness effects in

near-bed turbulence: implication to sediment entrainment. Journal of Engineering Mechanics,

127(3), 211-218.

Perry A.E., Lim K.L. and Henbest S.M.(1987). An experimental study of turbulence structure in

smooth- and rough-wall boundary layers. Journal of fluid Mechanics, 177, 437-466.

Shafi H. S. and Antonia R. A. (1997). Small-scale characteristics of a turbulent boundary layer over a

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Structures. Journal of Environmental Engineering, 134(8),640-650.

Tachie M.F., Dergstrom D.J. and Balachandar R.(2004). Roughness effects on the mixing properties in

open channel turbulent boundary layers. Journal of Fluids Engineering, 126, 1025-1032.

Torres A. (2008). Dcantation des eaux pluviales dans un ouvrage rel de grande taille : lments de

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sedimentation system: elements of reflection for monitoring and modeling). PhD thesis,

INSA de Lyon, Villeurbanne, France.

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11

Belgrade 2012

an open channel junction flow using CFD technique

Adrien Momplot1, Hossein Bonakdari1,2*, Emmanuel Mignot3, Gislain

Lipeme Kouyi1, Nicolas Rivire3, Jean-Luc Bertrand-Krajewski1

1

Universit de Lyon, INSA Lyon, LGCIE - Laboratory of Civil & Environmental Engineering, F-69621

Villeurbanne cedex, France

2

Department of Civil Engineering, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran

3

LMFA, CNRS-Universit de Lyon, INSA de Lyon, Bat. Joseph Jacquard, 20 avenue A. Einstein,

F-69621 Villeurbanne cedex, France

*Corresponding author, e-mail: bonakdari@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT

This paper deals with numerical calculation of flow structures in open-channel

junction flows which are typical singularities encountered in urban drainage

systems. The objective is to evaluate the impact of the mesh shape, mesh

refinement, and free-surface modelling approach on the simulation. The ability of

CFD strategy (appropriate numerical options, particularly: computational meshes,

discretization schemes, turbulence models linked to wall treatment functions and

air-water interface capturing approach) is determined by comparing simulated

results against experimental one obtained on laboratory scaled open-channel

junction where PIV measurement technic was set-up. Comparisons emphasis on

simulated and measured horizontal velocity field, mixing interface between both

inflows and recirculation zone at two elevations, near the free-surface and close to

the bottom of the channel.

The mesh was refined until no significant changes are observed on the main flow

structures. Nevertheless, whatever the mesh refinement, CFD modelling has some

trouble to simulate accurately the recirculation zone extension near the bottom. The

mesh shape has no influence on the velocity field even if hexahedral meshes give

better representation of the mixing interface in the junction than tetrahedral

meshes. Nonetheless, both mesh types do not enable to represent properly the

recirculation in the near-bottom region. Finally, the use of the VOF model leads to

a similar velocity field, but seems to give less ability to represent the mixing

interface in the junction and the extension of recirculation zone.

KEYWORDS

Computational Fluid Dynamics, Hydrodynamics, Junction, Mesh size

INTRODUCTION

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) offers a suitable understanding of open channel flow pattern

and enables to study flow characteristics in different hydraulic and physical situations, including urban

drainage systems. It is known that CFD solution is strongly impacted by the selected modelling

parameters such as grid, boundary conditions, turbulence model, under-relaxation factors, interface

capturing model, spatial and time discretization schemes, etc. One of the main steps in CFD approach

is the spatial discretization of the fluid body into cells or elements forming a computational grid. Then,

CFD codes compute the solution of mass continuity, energy and momentum equations in each cell of

the defined grid.

The grid quality (shape, size and distribution, density of meshes, number of nodes per length of edge,

etc) is among the most important parameters affecting the accuracy and convergence of a finite

volume calculation. Decreasing the mesh size leads to increase the number of cells and the number of

equations and unknowns. This causes longer iterations of the calculation before reaching convergence

or increases the round-off error and sometimes causes problem of divergence (due to numerical

diffusion). This is especially important in three dimensional modeling of two-phase turbulent flow in

open channel (Bonakdari and Lipeme Kouyi, 2010).

The paper aims to investigate the impact of the mesh characteristics on CFD solution when open

channel junction flows encountered in urban drainage systems are simulated. Indeed, such geometrical

singularities exhibit a complex flow pattern sketched in figure 1 (see Weber et al., 2001) with i) an

interface plane (shear plane) between both inflows where mixing occurs if one inflow contains a

given concentration of passive or solid material, ii) a recirculation region in the downstream branch

with lower velocities where solid material should deposit and passive material should be trapped and

iii) an acceleration region facing the recirculation region where high velocities are encountered and

thus where erosion of previously deposited material should occur. The present paper is thus focused on

the impact of the computational meshes on the CFD prediction of the extension and velocity

magnitude of the mixing interface and recirculation region.

Figure 1. Scheme of the main flow structures (from Weber et al., 2001).

METHODS

2.1

Experimental data

The experiments are performed in the channel intersection facility at the Laboratoire de Mcanique

des Fluides et dAcoustique (LMFA) at the University of Lyon (INSA-Lyon, France), sketched in Fig.

2 (see Rivire et al., 2011). The facility consists of three horizontal glass channels of L=2m length and

b=0.3m width each. The channels intersect at 90 with two inlet branches, labeled the main branch

along x axis with the flow rate Qxi and the lateral branch along y axis with the flow rate Qyi and one

downstream branch along x axis aligned with the main branch. Each inlet branch is connected to a

large storage tank. The water passes through a honeycomb to stabilize and straighten each inflow,

collides in the junction, flows through the downstream branch and is collected by the downstream

tank. A sharp crest weir ends the downstream branch which total length is finally 2.6m. The water

circulation is maintained by pumping from the downstream tank to the inlet tanks. Both inlet flowrates are measured in the pumping loops using electromagnetic flow-meters. The three parameters

which govern the flow configuration are: the inlet flow-rates Qxi= Qyi=2L/s and the water depth at the

downstream end of the downstream branch hd=12 cm which is controlled by the weir. Due to

negligible wall friction, the water depth is almost the same in the whole flow and only a slight water

depth decrease appears (maximum of 3% of hd from the upstream to the downstream tank).

Qxi=2L/s

PIV area

Qxi

y x

L=2m

hd

Upstream

Tank

Downstream

Tank

L=2m

Pump

b=30cm

Qyi

Qyi=2L/s

Lateral

Tank

Velocity fields are measured using a horizontal PIV technique at two elevations (z = 3 cm and 9 cm).

Polyamid particles (50 m diameter) are added to the water. A white light generator along with a

simple slot of less than 1 mm opening layer is used to create a 5 mm thick light sheet at the desired

elevation in the channel junction. A 1280x1920 pixel CCD-camera connected to a PC computer is

located above the free surface at an elevation of about 1.5 m. Inserting the whole set-up in the dark

finally permits to record the particle motion at the lightened elevation at a fixed frame-rate of 30Hz

during 133s with a horizontal resolution of about 0.5 mm. The commercial software Davis (from

Lavision) permits to correct the optical distortions, to subtract the background and to compute the

mean velocity field. Repeatability, time convergence and spatial coherency were verified and the

resulting measured velocity accuracy is estimated to about 5mm/s.

2.2

Numerical study

The 3D numerical modelling is carried out by means of the commercial Ansys - CFX and FLUENT

(version 14) CFD software packages using a steady-state formulation which solves the threedimensional fundamental flow equations. As for most sewer flows, the experimental junction flow

shows an appropriate Reynolds number (Re ~ 15000 in the upstream branches and 30000 in the

downstream branches). A relevant turbulence model is thus of great importance in order to obtain

accurate numerical results. The key equations for fluid motion in the whole domain are: (1) the

continuity equation for the incompressible fluid in Eulerian approach:

ui

0

xi

(1)

and (2) the Reynolds time-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations for an incompressible turbulent

fluid flow for steady flow condition:

uj

u i

z 1 P

x j

xi xi x j

u i

ui' u 'j

x

(2)

with i and j = 1, 2 and 3, where xi represents the three coordinate axes, u i the time-averaged velocity

along axis i, z the vertical free-surface elevation, P the pressure, the fluid density and u 'i u ' j the

Reynolds stresses with the prime sign referring to time fluctuations. Solving Eqs. 1 and 2 requires a

turbulence model to set the Reynolds stresses. Among the proposed turbulence models, Bradbrook et

al. (1998), Shakibainia et al. (2010) and Mignot et al. (2011) have shown that the RNG (ReNormalization Group) form of the k- model (initially introduced by Yakhot et al., 1992) accurately

computes the 3D behaviour of a junction flow. This turbulence model is then used for the present

work.

Since Eq. 2 is elliptic, boundary conditions are required. Uniform velocity distributions are set at each

inlet cross-section U = Q/A (A being the wet cross-section) with hydrostatic pressure distribution and

outlet extremity water depth h = hd = 12 cm is specified with zero longitudinal gradient of all flow

characteristics. A sufficient length (10 meters) is provided upstream each inlet branch in order to

obtain a fully developed turbulent velocity profile close to the junction. At the outlet, a hydrostatic

pressure distribution is maintained across the entire cross-section. The rigid walls are considered

smooth with no slip condition and the standard wall function method (proposed by Launder and

Spalding, 1974) (see Table 1). Due to limited water depth variations observed in the experiments, the

free surface is modelled either as a single-phase by rigid lid ( the free surface is considered as a wall,

with free-slip conditions i.e. zero shear stress at the free surface as expected in experiments) or as an

interface using volume of fluid (VOF) method (see Table 1).

2.3

Computational strategy

The construction of a suitable mesh is an important task for the numerical simulations because the

accuracy and the calculation speed depend on the mesh resolution. In this study, different structured

meshes with various cell concentrations are tested. Nine quite uniform rectangular meshes with

decreasing cell sizes (see Fig. 3) are considered. These meshes are organized in three groups: coarse

(meshes 1 to 3), medium (meshes 4 to 6) and refined (meshes 7 to 9). For these meshes, the rigid lid

approach is used to model the free surface. Simulations have been performed under CFX (meshes 1 to

9) and FLUENT (meshes 10 and 11).

Besides, two additional calculations are performed with meshes 10 and 11(see Table 1) in order to

investigate the influence of the mesh shape (mesh 10: tetrahedral mesh) and the possible influence of

VOF model (mesh 11: Cartesian mesh with VOF approach) on CFD solutions. For meshes 10 and 11,

the mesh type and size, the boundary conditions and computational strategy are summarized in Table

1.

Figure 3. Computational meshes 1 to 9. Cell sizes are indicated in millimetres for each mesh, using the

following convention: x*y*z.

Table 1. Description of the computational conditions, the discretization scheme, meshes shape and

density (cell size) for meshes 10 and 11. Hexahedral meshes are detailed as x*y*z.

Mesh shape

Cell size

VOF model

Mesh 10

tetrahedral

Distance between

nodes around 10 mm

No

Mesh 11

hexahedral

cartesian

20*20*10

Yes

3

3.1

RESULTS

Velocity fields

Five simulated runs (among the 11 available) are selected and for each selected case, the velocity

fields at two elevations z = 3 cm and z = 9 cm are plotted. Then, comparison against measurements

are done (see Fig. 4). No measurements are available for 1.1<x/b<1.8 in the upstream part of the

downstream channel, due to measurement limitations.

It is observed that for the coarsened meshes (mesh 1) CFD solution cannot represent properly the

recirculation zone and the disturbed velocity profile after the junction (x/b 2.5), as shown on figure

4. For medium meshes (mesh 5), the recirculation zone is represented - however the velocity profile

after the junction is not in agreement with measurements. For refined meshes (mesh 8), the

recirculation zone is better represented and disturbed velocity profile in the downstream branch fit

experimental data even though some differences remain (see Fig. 4). We also observed (not shown

here) that the refinement of mesh 9 does not lead to a significant improvement of the CFD solution

compared to that derived from CFD modelling performed with mesh 8. Comparisons of simulated

results obtained with mesh 8 (cartesian mesh with rigid lid approach) and mesh 11 (same density of

cartesian mesh 8 using VOF model see Table 1) against experimental one highlight the influence of

VOF model on the computed velocity field in the junction (see Fig. 4). The VOF model does not seem

5

to influence significantly the velocity field even though flow recovery downstream the recirculation

region (x/b 3) for z=9cm is computed with better accuracy with VOF model.

Experiments

U (m/s)

Figure 4. Experimental velocity profiles (Exp., top line) and simulated one (Num., lines 2 to 6) at z = 3

cm (left column) and z = 9 cm (right column). Arrows are the velocity field; colours are the velocity

magnitude. Numerical results are plotted at each node location.

6

Comparisons between simulated velocity field obtained with mesh 8 (cartesian) and mesh 10

(tetrahedral with similar mesh density) demonstrates the influence of mesh shape on the velocity

profile in the junction (see Fig. 4). One can note that the comparison is more difficult in this case, due

to the non-regular distribution of the nodes in the tetrahedral mesh. It seems that the mesh shape does

not influence significantly the velocity field. Flow recovery downstream the recirculation region (x/b

3.5) for z=9cm is different regarding all calculations but it is not obvious which resemble the most to

experimental data.

3.2

Mixing interface

For all simulated and measured velocity fields, the mixing interface at each elevation is defined as the

streamline which originates near the upstream corner of the junction: x/b~y/b~0 (see Fig. 5).

Fig.5 reveals that the mesh 1 cells arrangement (coarsen group) is sufficient to represent the main

tendency of the mixing interface even though this solution has more difficulties to represent this

interface near the bottom (z=3cm). CFD solution obtained with mesh 6 (medium group) does not

improve the precision and the shape of the interface at z = 3 cm compared to the ones obtained with

mesh 1. Finally, for mesh 9 (refine group) this interface calculation is in fair agreement with

measurements.

(a)

(b)

(c)

Figure 5. Measured (in black) and modeled (in red) mixing interface between the two inflows in the

junction, at z = 3 cm (solid line) and z = 9 cm (dashes) for coarse meshes (mesh 1) (a), medium

meshes (mesh 6) (b) and refined meshes (mesh 9) (c).

Fig. 6 shows the influence of mesh shape and VOF model. Comparison between mesh 9 and mesh 10

(see figure 6 (a) and (b) respectively) shows the impact of the mesh shape. The tetrahedral shape has a

strong impact on the position of the mixing zone in the near bottom region. Comparison between mesh

9 and mesh 11 (see figure 6 (a) and (c) respectively) shows the impact of the VOF model. We can

observe that the mixing interface is not well captured in the near bottom region when using VOF

model.

(a)

(c)

(b)

(b)

(a)

(c)

Figure 6. Measured (in black) and modelled (in red) mixing interface between the two inflows in the

junction, at z = 3 cm (solid line) and z = 9 cm (dashes) for mesh 9 (cartesian without VOF model) (a),

mesh 10 (tetrahedral without VOF model) (b) and mesh 11 (cartesian with VOF model) (c).

Differences between the VOF solutions and others can be explained by the impact of the recirculation

zone. This zone induces centrifugal effects which influence the pressure field and water depths, even if

this impact is low (for example, the water depths gradient equals about 2 mm along the length, and 0.2

mm along the width in the recirculation zone). Indeed VOF model allows the free surface to be

disturbed by these effects, whereas the rigid lid boundary condition doesnt. Additionally, even if the

rigid lid condition seems to give better results, it needs to know a priori the heights field to have a

good representation of the velocity field.

3.3

For both elevations, the length of the recirculation region L is defined as the location where the mean

streamwise velocity (along x axis) of the measurement or CFD solution point closest to the side wall

(y~0) changes sign from negative (towards the junction) to positive (towards downstream). Moreover,

the width of the recirculation region is defined as the domain in which the net flow discharge (along x

axis) computed from the side wall (y=0) to the recirculation width equals 0. The maximum width,

noted B herein, is simply the maximum measured or simulated recirculation width, occurring between

x/b=0 and x/b=1+L/b.

L and B are evaluated for each CFD solution and are compared to the measured one and data available

in the literature (Gurram et al., 1997, Borghei et al., 2003, Best and Reid, 1984). Results of

comparison are presented in Table 2 for L and Table 3 for B. It should be noted that B could not be

evaluated from CFD solution obtained with meshes 1 to 4.

Table 2. Normalized length L/b of the recirculation zone for each mesh at two elevations: z = 3 cm and

z = 9 cm.

Measured Mesh 1

Mesh 6

Mesh 8

Mesh 9

Borghei

Best

z = 3 cm 1.25

1.33

2.33

2.00

2.05

2.37

1.66

z = 9 cm 1.97

2.13

2.67

2.77

2.37

2.50

1.88

2.53

1.70 1.87

Table 3. Normalized maximum width B/b of the recirculation zone for each mesh at two elevations: z

= 3 cm and z = 9 cm.

Measured Mesh 1

Mesh 6

Mesh 8

Mesh 9

Borghei

Best

z = 3 cm 0.19

NaN

0.20

0.27

0.28

0.38

0.2

z = 9 cm 0.33

NaN

0.20

0.33

0.35

0.30

0.13

0.37

0.47

0.37

Tables 2 and 3 reveal that CFD approach mostly overestimates the length of the recirculation zone L

compared to measurements except for mesh 11 case. The tetrahedral shape and the VOF model do not

improve the estimation of the recirculation length at z=3cm and z = 9cm. Concerning the maximum

recirculation width B, neither VOF model nor tetrahedral shape achieve an accurate estimation at all

elevations while a clear tendency is observed from measurement data.

CONCLUSIONS

The aim of the present paper was to investigate the ability of CFD codes to simulate subcritical open

channel junction flows - with a specific attention on the impact of the mesh characteristics using

prismatic and tetrahedral cells and of the free-surface modelling approach on the CFD solution. The

ability of CFD strategy is assessed through comparisons against laboratory experimental data for

which velocity fields in the junction are measured using a horizontal PIV technique.

This comparison is focused on three criteria: the simulation at two elevations of i) the general flow

pattern, ii) the mixing interface between both inflows in the junction and iii) the length and width of

the recirculation zone in the downstream branch. Among all simulated runs, meshes 8 and 9 (using

refined quite uniform rectangular cells aligned with the main flow and a rigid-lid approach for the

free-surface representation) appeared to be the most efficient solution based on these criteria.

Nevertheless, these two simulations do not reproduce with enough accuracy all criteria: the location of

the mixing interface in the near-bottom region differs between measurements and simulations and the

length of the recirculation zone is severely overestimated by the numerical models. In addition, the

refinement of the mesh 9 compared to mesh 8 appears not to improve significantly CFD solution.

Among all simulations, CFD solution performed with mesh 8 seems to have further capability to

simulate hydrodynamics across subcritical open-channel junction.

Finally, when simple and widely used CFD approaches (RANS, k- model) are selected, the

mixing-interface near the free-surface is accurately computed by very coarse meshes (mesh 1 for

instance) - however the mixing-interface curve near the bottom and the recirculation extension in the

downstream branch are simulated with poor accuracy even for the most elaborated CFD strategy (for

example solution with mesh 9). Due to the importance of these flow structures for pollutants mixing or

sediment transport, additional work is obviously required before reaching a satisfactory CFD strategy

which enables to better simulate passive and solid transport and dispersion in such structures.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The research was prepared in the frame of OTHU and IMU, Lyon. It was funded by the INSA-LyonBQR program, the French INSU-EC2CO-Cytrix-2011 project No 231 and ANR-11-ECOTECH-007MENTOR projects.

REFERENCES

Akoz, M.S., Kirkgoz, M.S., Oner, A.A. (2009). Experimental and numerical modeling of a sluice gate

flow. J. Hydraulic Research. 47(2), 167-176.

Best, J. L. and Reid, I. (1984). Separation zone at open-channel junctions. Journal of Hydraulic

Engineering, 110(11): pp 1588-1594.

Bonakdari H., Lipeme Kouyi G. (2010). The study of geometric and distribution effects of 3D mesh

on CFD Modeling of two-phased turbulent flow. Hydraulics, Water Resources, Coastal and

Environmental Engineering Conference, Hydro 2010, Ambala, India, 16-18 December 2010.

Borghei S. M., Beranghi A. and Daemi A. R. (2003). Open channel flow junction with different

channel width. XXX IAHR Congress, Thessaloniki-Greece.

Bradbrook K.F., Biron P.M., Lane S.N., Richards K.S. and Roy A.G. (1998). Investigation of controls

on secondary circulation in a simple confluence geometry using a three-dimensional numerical

model. Hydr. Processes, 12(8), 13711396.

Gurram S. K., Karki K. S. and Hager W. H. (1997). Subcritical junction flows. Journal of Hydraulic

Engineering, 123(5): pp 447-455.

Launder B.E. and Spalding D.B. (1974). The numerical computation of turbulent flows. Comp.

Methods Appl. Mech. Eng., 3, 269-289.

Mignot E., Bonakdari H., Knothe P., Lipeme Kouyi G., Bessette A., Rivire N., Bertrand-Krajewski

J.-L. (2011). Experiments and 3D simulations of flow structures in junctions and of their

influence on location of flowmeters. 12th International Conference on Urban Drainage, Porto

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Rivire, N., G. Travin, and R. J. Perkins (2011), Subcritical open channel flows in four branch

intersections, Water Resour. Res., 47, W10517.

Shakibainia A., Tabatabai M.R.M. and Zarrati A.R. (2010). Three dimensional numerical study of

flow structure in channel confluences. Can. J. Civ. Eng., 37, 772-781.

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J. Hydr. Engin., 127(5), 340-350

Yakhot V., Orszag S.A., Thangam S., Gatski T.B. and Speziale C.G. (1992). Development of

turbulence models for shear flows by a double expansion technique. Phys. Fluids, 4(7), 1510

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