A Model of Turbulence, Sediment Transport and Morphodynamics of Lateral Separation Zones in Canyon Rivers using Detached Eddy Simulation Technique
Abstract:Lateral separation zones are featured by large-scale flow separation, secondary recirculation zones and free shear layers. In the Colorado River, lateral separation zones are the principal source of fine sediment for eddy sandbars. A parallelized, three-dimensional turbulence-resolving model is coupled with a continuum sediment transport model and tested in lateral separation zones located in two pools along the Colorado River in Marble Canyon. The model aims to study the flow and sediment dynamics of lateral separation zones, recognizing the important role that these processes play in the erosion, deposition and morphodynamics of eddy sandbars. The Detached Eddy Simulation (DES) technique is employed for fully resolved turbulence at larger scales than the Sub-Grid-Scale (SGS) while SGS turbulence is modeled using the Spalart-Allmaras one equation turbulence closure model. This DES-3D flow model is coupled to a sediment advection-diffusion formulation, wherein advection is provided by the DES velocity field minus particles settling velocity, and diffusion is provided by the SGS. The Smith and McLean suspended sediment boundary condition is used to calculate the upward and downward settling of sediment fluxes in the near-bed grid cells. Five groups of sediment sizes are employed and estimated using a mixing layer model. Each fraction of the grain size group is redistributed every time step. Thus, the model is able to predict the exposure and burial of bedrock by fine grain size sediment.
The simulated results show a pattern of unsteady pulsations in the exchange of concentration of sediment and deposition fluxes between the primary zone and the main channel. This exchange occurs at the convergence and divergence zones. These pulsations are more accentuated at the convergence zone, but still evidenced at the divergence zone. Along the simulated river-reach, the concentration values increase in the constrictions and decrease in the main channel. At both rapids, net erosion is observed due to the high shear stress present in these constrictions. At the reattachment and separation zones, positive net deposition is observed with relatively constant values. The net deposition and deposition fluxes play an important role in the replenishment of sand bars, since these are zones of storage of fine deposits.