Large-eddy simulation of unidirectional turbulent flow over dunes
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We performed large eddy simulation of the flow over a series of two- and three-dimensional dune geometries at laboratory scale using the Lagrangian dynamic eddy-viscosity subgrid-scale model. First, we studied the flow over a standard 2D transverse dune geometry, then bedform three-dimensionality was imposed. Finally, we investigated the turbulent flow over barchan dunes. The results are validated by comparison with simulations and experiments for the 2D dune case, while the results of the 3D dunes are validated qualitatively against experiments. The flow over transverse dunes separates at the dune crest, generating a shear layer that plays a crucial role in the transport of momentum and energy, as well as the generation of coherent structures. Spanwise vortices are generated in the separated shear; as they are advected, they undergo lateral instabilities and develop into horseshoe-like structures and finally reach the surface. The ejection that occurs between the legs of the vortex creates the upwelling and downdrafting events on the free surface known as “boils”. The three-dimensional separation of flow at the crestline alters the distribution of wall pressure, which may cause secondary flow across the stream. The mean flow is characterized by a pair of counter-rotating streamwise vortices, with core radii of the order of the flow depth. Staggering the crestlines alters the secondary motion; two pairs of streamwise vortices appear (a strong one, centred about the lobe, and a weaker one, coming from the previous dune, centred around the saddle). The flow over barchan dunes presents significant differences to that over transverse dunes. The flow near the bed, upstream of the dune, diverges from the centerline plane; the flow close to the centerline plane separates at the crest and reattaches on the bed. Away from the centerline plane and along the horns, flow separation occurs intermittently. The flow in the separation bubble is routed towards the horns and leaves the dune at the tips. Barchan dunes induce two counter-rotating streamwise vortices, along each of the horns, which direct high-momentum fluid toward the symmetry plane and low-momentum fluid near the bed away from the centerline.