Numerical evaluation of the effects of planform geometry and inflow conditions on flow, turbulence structure, and bed shear velocity at a stream confluence with a concordant bed

George Constantinescu, Shinjiro Miyawaki, Bruce Rhoads, Alexander Sukhodolov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study numerically investigates the effects of variations in inflow conditions and planform geometry on large-scale coherent flow structures and bed friction velocities at a stream confluence with natural bathymetry and concordant bed morphology. Several numerical experiments are conducted in which either the Kelvin-Helmholtz mode or the wake mode dominates within the mixing interface (MI) between the two confluent streams as the junction angle and alignments of the tributaries are altered. In the Kelvin-Helmholtz mode, the MI contains mostly corotating vortices driven by the mean transverse shear across the MI, while in the wake mode the MI contains counterrotating vortices forming by the interaction of the separated shear layers on the two sides of a zone of stagnant fluid near the junction corner. A large angle between the two incoming streams is not necessary for the development of strongly coherent streamwise-oriented vortical (SOV) cells in the immediate vicinity of the MI. Results show that such SOV cells can develop and produce high bed friction velocities even for cases with a low angle between the two tributaries and for cases where the downstream channel is approximately aligned with the axes of the two tributaries (low-curvature cases). SOV cells tend not to develop only when the incoming streams are parallel and aligned with the downstream channel (junction angle of zero), and the incoming flows produce a strong Kelvin-Helmholtz mode. Under such conditions, quasi 2-D MI vortices play the primary role in mixing and the production of high bed shear velocities. Simulations with and without natural bed morphology/local bank line irregularities indicate that planform geometry and inflow conditions primarily govern the development of coherent flow structures, but that bathymetric and bank line effects can locally modify details of these structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2079-2097
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research F: Earth Surface
Volume119
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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