Water Resources Management

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 177–199 | Cite as

High-resolution Numerical Simulation of Flow Through a Highly Sinuous River Reach

  • José F. RodriguezEmail author
  • Fabián A. Bombardelli
  • Marcelo H. García
  • Kelly M. Frothingham
  • Bruce L. Rhoads
  • Jorge D. Abad


River dynamics involve complex, incompletely understoodinteractions among flow, sediment transport and channel form.The capacity to predict these interactions is essential for avariety of river management problems, including channelmigration, width adjustment and habitat development. To addressthis need, high-resolution numerical models increasingly arebeing used by river engineers, fluvial geomorphologists andriver biologists to explore the complexity of river dynamics andto predict fluvial behavior.This paper presents numerical simulations through a naturalmeadering river using two different models: a depth-averagednumerical code with secondary flow correction and a fully 3-D,state-of-the-art, Computational-Fluid-Dynamics (CFD) code.Models predictions are compared to high-quality 3-D velocitydata collected in a highly sinuous reach of the Embarras Riverin Central Illinois, showing a successful simulation of the mainflow features. Implications for sediment transport, planformdevelopment and habitat structure throughout the reach areanalyzed, demonstrating the potential use of the models as atool for river management.

Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter computationalfluid dynamics depth-averaged modeling meandering rivers meanders secondary circulation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bernard, R. S.: 1993, 'STREMR: Numerical Model for Depth-averaged Incompressible Flow', Tech. Rep.} REMR-HY-11, U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MissGoogle Scholar
  2. Bradbrook, K. F.,Biron, P.M., Lane, S. N. and Richards, K. S. and Roy, A. G.: 1998, 'Investigation of controls on secondary circulation and mixing processes in a simple confluence geometry using a three-dimensional numerical model', Hydrol. Process. 12, 1371-1396.Google Scholar
  3. Bradbrook, K. F., Lane, S. N. and Richards, K. S.: 2000}, 'Numerical simulation of three-dimensional, time-averaged flow structure at river channel confluences', Water Resour. Res. 36(9), 2731-2746.Google Scholar
  4. Bombardelli, F. A., Hirt, C. W. and García, M. H.: 2001, 'Discussion on 'Computations of Curve Free Surface Water Flow on Spiral Concentrators' ' by B. W. Matthews, C. A. J. Fletcher, A. C. Partridge and S. Vasquez, J. Hydr. Eng. ASCE 127(7)}, 629-6Google Scholar
  5. Chow, V. T.: 1959, Open Channel Hydraulics, McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  6. Crowder, D. W. and Diplas, P.: 2000, 'Using two-dimensional hydrodynamic models at scales of ecological importance', J. Hydrology 230, 172-191.Google Scholar
  7. Dietrich, W. E.: 1987, 'Mechanics of Flow and Sediment Transport in River Bends', in Richards (ed.), River Channels: Environment and Process, Basil Blackwell Scientific Publications.Google Scholar
  8. Finnie, J., Donnell, B., Letter, J. and Bernard, R.: 1993, 'Secondary flow correction for depth-averaged flow calculations', J. Eng. Mech., ASCE 125(7), 109-124.Google Scholar
  9. Frothingham, K. M.: 2001, 'Geomorphological Processes in Meandering and Straight Reaches of an Agricultural Stream in East Central Illinois: Relations to Aquatic Habitat', Ph.D. Thesis, Geography Department, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Google Scholar
  10. Frothingham, K. M., Rhoads, B. L. and Herricks, E. E.: 2002, 'A multiscale conceptual framework for integrated ecogeomorphological research to support stream naturalization in the agricultural Midwest', Environ. Manage. 29(1), 16-33.Google Scholar
  11. Frothingham, K. M., Rhoads, B. L. and Herricks, E. E.: 2001, 'Stream Geomorphology and Fish Community Structure in Channelized and Meandering Reaches of an Agricultural Stream', in J. Dorava, D. Montgomery, B. Palscak and F. Fitzpatrick (eds), Geomorphic Processes and Reverine Habitat, American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  12. García, M. H., Bittner, L. and Niño, Y.: 1994, 'Mathematical Modeling Meandering Streams in Illinois: A Tool for Stream Management and Engineering', Civil Engineering Studies, Hydraulic Eng. Series No. 43, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Google Scholar
  13. Hirt, C. W. and Nichols, B. D.: 1981, 'Volume of Fluid (VOF) method for the dynamics of free boundaries', J. Comp. Physics 39, 201-225.Google Scholar
  14. Hirt, C. W. and Sicilian, J. M.: 1985, 'A Porosity Technique for the Definition of Obstacles in Rectangular Cell Meshes', Proc. Fourth Int. Conf. Ship Hydro., National Academy of Science, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  15. Hodkinson, A. and Ferguson, R. I.: 1998, 'Numerical modeling of separated flow in river bends: Model testing and experimental investigation of geometric controls on the extent of the flow separation on the concave bank', Hydrol. Process. 12, 1323-1338.Google Scholar
  16. Ikeda, S., Parker, G. and Sawai, K.: 1981, 'Bend theory of river meanders', J. Fluid Mech. 112, 363-377.Google Scholar
  17. Johannesson, H. and Parker, G.: 1989, 'Linear Theory of River Meanders', in Ikeda and Parker (eds), River Meandering, Water Resources Monograph, AGU.Google Scholar
  18. Lane, S., Richards, K. and Chandler, J.: 1995, 'Within-reach Spatial Patterns of Process and Channel Adjustment', in Hickin (ed.), River Geomorphology, John Wiley & Sons Ltd.Google Scholar
  19. Lane, S., Bradbrook, K., Richards, K., Biron, P. and Roy, A.: 1999, 'The application of computational fluid dynamics to natural river channels: Three-dimensional versus two-dimensional approaches', Geomorphology 29, 1-20.Google Scholar
  20. Leschziner, M. and Rodi, W.: 1979, 'Calculation of strongly curved open channel flow', J. Hydraul. Eng. ASCE 105, 1297-1314Google Scholar
  21. López, F.: 1997, 'Open-channel Flow with Roughness elements of Different Spanwise Aspect Ratios: Turbulence Structure and Numerical Modeling', Ph. D. Thesis, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Google Scholar
  22. Naot, D., Nezu, I. and Nakagawa, H.: 1993, 'Hydrodynamic behavior of compound rectangular open channels', J. Hydraul. Eng. ASCE 119, 390-408.Google Scholar
  23. Nelson, J. and Smith, D.: 1989, 'Flow in Meandering Channels with Natural Topography', in Ikeda and Parker (eds), River Meandering, Water Resources Monograph, AGU.Google Scholar
  24. Nicholas, A. P.: 2001, 'Computational fluid dynamics modeling of boundary roughness in gravel-bed rivers: An investigation of the effects of random variability in bed elevation', Earth Surf. Process. Landforms 26, 345-362.Google Scholar
  25. Olsen, N. R. B. and Stokseth, S.: 1995, 'Three-dimensional numerical modelling of water flow in a river with large bed roughness', J. Hydr. Res. 33(4), 571-581.Google Scholar
  26. Rhoads, B. L. and Welford, M. R.: 1991, 'Initiation of river meandering', Progr. Phys. Geogr. 15, 127-156.Google Scholar
  27. Rhoads, B. L. and Sukhodolov, A.: 2001, 'Field investigation of three-dimensional flow structure at stream confluences: 1. Thermal mixing and time-averaged velocities', Water Resour. Res. 37(9), 2393-2410.Google Scholar
  28. Rodi, W.: 1984, Turbulence Models and their Application in Hydraulics, IAHR Monograph, Delft.Google Scholar
  29. Sukhodolov, A. and Rhoads, B. L.}: 2001, 'Field investigation of three-dimensional flow structure at stream confluences: 2. Turbulence', Water Resour. Res. 37(9), 2411-2424.Google Scholar
  30. Weerakoon, S. B. and Tamai, N.: 1989, 'Three-dimensional calculation of flow in river confluences using boundary fitted coordinates', J. Hydrosci. Hydraul. Eng.7, 51-62.Google Scholar
  31. Wu, W., Rodi, W. and Wenka, T.: 1997, 'Three-dimensional Calculation of River Flow', Proc. 27th IAHR Congress, San Francisco, CA.Google Scholar
  32. Yen, C. and Yen, B. C.: 1971, 'Water surface configuration in channel bends', J. Hydraul. Div. ASCE 97(HY2), 303-321Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • José F. Rodriguez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fabián A. Bombardelli
    • 2
  • Marcelo H. García
    • 3
  • Kelly M. Frothingham
    • 4
  • Bruce L. Rhoads
    • 5
  • Jorge D. Abad
    • 3
  1. 1.School of EngineeringThe University of NewcastleNew South WalesAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of California at DavisDavisU.S.A
  3. 3.Van Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory, Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaU.S.A
  4. 4.Department of Geography and PlanningBuffalo State CollegeBuffaloU.S.A
  5. 5.Department of GeographyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaU.S.A

Personalised recommendations