Direct numerical simulations of boundary condition effects on the propagation of density current in wall-bounded and open channels

X. Liu, Y. Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The propagation of density current under different boundary conditions is investigated using high resolution direct numerical simulations (DNS). A revised Kleiser and Schumann influence-matrix method is used to treat the general Robin type velocity boundary conditions and the related "tau" error corrections in the numerical simulations. Comparison of the simulation results reveals that the boundary conditions change the turbulent flow field and therefore the propagation of the front. This paper mainly focuses on the effects of boundary conditions and initial depth of the dense fluid. The differences in energy dissipation and overall front development in wall-bounded and open channels are examined. Through DNS simulations, it is evident that with the decrease of initial release depth ratio (D/H), the effect of the top boundary becomes less important. In wall-bounded channels, there are three distinctive layers in the vertical distribution of energy dissipation corresponding to the contributions from bottom wall, interface, and top wall, respectively. In open channels, there are only two layers with the top one missing due to the shear free nature of the boundary. It is found that the energy dissipation distribution in the bottom layer is similar for cases with the same D/H ratio regardless the top boundary condition. The simulation results also reveal that for low Reynolds number cases, the energy change due to concentration diffusion cannot be neglected in the energy budget. To reflect the real dynamics of density current, the dimensionless Froude number and Reynolds number should be defined using the release depth D as the length scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-407
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironmental Fluid Mechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


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