Numerical Modeling of Flow and Sediment Transport in Rivers
Understanding the mechanisms that control sediment transport in rivers and the size distribution
of sediments is of fundamental importance to the fields of hydraulics, hydrology and water resources.
Flows in river are, in general, three dimensional, unsteady, and turbulent, in addition to additional
complexity of interactions of fluid and solid phases. Therefore, the exact mathematical analysis of
flow and sediment transport is a challenging task. In addition, direct extrapolation from laboratory
data to field applications is not possible. Field measurements are, however, very tedious, expensive,
and time consuming. More fundamentally for reservoir geologists and engineers, riparian flow
measurements cannot now be performed on rivers that last flowed eons ago. Hence, quantitative,
physically realistic models are needed for use with current field and laboratory measurements to
reliably reconstruct the flow and sediment transport that, long ago, formed different types of
The objective of this project is to develop a three-dimensional, two-phase flow computational model
using Lagrangian particle trajectory analysis procedures for sediment transport, deposition, and
resuspension processes. The specific objective is to develop a physical model relating particle size
distribution in the sedimentary bed as a function of the river geometric features and flow conditions.
Funded by US Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)