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Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Modelling to Estimate Fluvial Bank Erosion—A Case Study

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Document pages: 27 pages

Abstract: River bank erosion models are an important prerequisite for understanding the development of river meanders and for estimating likely land-loss and potential danger to floodplain infrastructure. Although bank erosion models have been developed that consider large-scale mass failure, the contribution of fluvial erosion (the process of particle-by-particle erosion due to the shearing action of the river flow) to bank retreat has not received as much consideration. In principle, such fluvial bank erosion rates can be quantified using excess shear stress formulations, but in practice, it has proven difficult to estimate the parameters involved. In this study, a series of three-dimensional Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations for a meander loop on the River Asker (200 m long) at Bridport in southern England were undertaken to elucidate the overall flow structures and in particular to provide estimates of the applied fluid shear stress exerted on the riverbanks. The CFD models, which simulated relatively low and relatively high flow conditions, were established using Fluent 6.2 software. The modelling outcomes show that the key qualitative features of the flow endure even as flow discharge varies. At bank full, the degrees of velocity and simulated shear stresses within the inner bank separation zones are shown to be higher than those observed under low flow conditions, and that these elevated shear stresses may be sufficient to result in the removal of accumulated sediments into the main downstream flow.

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