Large eddy simulation of turbulent flow over and through a rough permeable bed

Y. P. Lian, J. Dallmann, B. Sonin, K. R. Roche, W. K. Liu, A. I. Packman, G. J. Wagner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This work elucidates the impacts of model construction choices on turbulence characteristics and solution fidelity in the simulation of coupled freestream and porous turbulent flows. A freestream-porewater interface is modeled numerically as a matrix of regularly spaced spheres submerged in a surrounding flow. Simulations are conducted to solve the continuity and momentum equations via Large Eddy Simulation (LES) using the Control Volume Finite Element Method (CVFEM) on an unstructured, surface-conforming mesh, and simulated flow fields are compared with experimental results. Key parameters are identified, allowing for model creation recommendations. A mesh refinement study is performed, and characteristic required mesh sizes in both the bed and the freestream are identified that achieve a good trade-off between accuracy and efficiency. Additionally, it is shown that similar to wall-bounded flows, the computational domain for a coupled freestream and porous flow must be sufficiently large to capture the relevant largest-sized eddies and to avoid the spanwise locking of flow structures; such structures may affect the flow field in the pores as well as in the freestream. Dimensions of 7.5H × 3.5H × H, where H is the freestream height, are found to give satisfactory comparison with experimental results for the cases studied. Finally, it is found that the wall-adapting local eddy-viscosity (WALE) turbulence closure scheme is better able to model the fluid velocity in the problem domain compared with the Smagorinsky model. Failure to select the proper turbulence closure model or domain size leads to a misrepresentation of the turbulent structures. Because of the strong coupling between the porewater flow and the freestream, these modeling errors propagate in both flow regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-138
Number of pages11
JournalComputers and Fluids
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019


  • Hyporheic zone
  • Large eddy simulation
  • Sediment-water interface
  • Turbulent flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Engineering


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