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RiverFLORiverFLO-2D Model Governing Equations and Numerical Method

Reinaldo Garcia FLOFLO-2D Software, Inc. September, 2009


equations  Numerical method  Sediment transport  River FLO-2D sediment transport model FLO Treatment of dry-bed conditions dry-

2D Shallow water approximation

2D Shallow water equations

SWE. Friction terms

Mannings equation

Allows for other internal friction formulations for bx and by

Sediment transport model for alluvial rivers


continuity equation



Sediment transport model

MeyerMeyer-Peter & Muller:

Sediment transport

Bed load, suspended load, wash load. Substrate vs surface based transport. Sediment transport formulas for substrate sediment. The main source of uncertainty in calculated transport rates arises from uncertainty in the input values of grain size, boundary stress, and hydraulic roughness. Too often, the transport formula is blamed for poor results when the real culprit is poor input. Wilcock et al.

Sediment transport

When calculating transport rates, it is very easy to be very wrong. (P. Wilcock et al.)

Sediment transport model

Required data:  Substrate sediment D50 (Also D90 for Van Rijn formula)  Sediment specific gravity  Bed porosity  Inflow boundary conditions for sediment transport assume equilibrium, i.e. Inflow Qs is determined from transport formula.

If this was not enough


making the computations easier, BAGS and similar software makes it possible to produce inaccurate estimates (even wildly inaccurate estimates) very quickly and in great abundance., Wilcock et al.

Pitlick, Pitlick, John; Cui, Yantao; Wilcock, Peter. 2009. Manual for Yantao; Wilcock, computing bed load transport using BAGS (Bedload Assessment for (Bedload GravelGravel-bed Streams) Software. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-223. RMRS-GTRFort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 45 p.

Sediment transport model

Several sediment transport formulas:

1: Meyer-Peter & Muller (1948), Meyer2: Karim-Kennedy (1998), Karim3: Ackers-White (1975). Ackers4: Yang (Sand), 5: Yang (Gravel), 6: Parker-Klingeman-Mclean (1982), Parker-Klingeman7: Van Rijn (1984a-c), (1984a8: Engelund Hansen (1967).

Sediment Transport Equations

MeyerMeyer-Peter & Muller: For steep rivers. Wong and Parker reanalyzed MPM data and adjusted formula.

Wong, M.; Parker, G. 2006. Reanalysis and correction of bed-load relation bedof Meyer-Peter and Mller using their own database. J. Hydr. Engrg. MeyerHydr. Engrg. 132(11): 1159-1168. 1159-


Used for sediment sizes greater than 0.4 mm. Will generate sediment transport rates that approach those of Engelund-Hansen on steep slopes. Engelund-

Sediment Transport Equations

KarimKarim-Kennedy: Smplified Karim-Kennedy equation (F. Karim, KarimKarim, 1998). Nonlinear multiple regression relationship based on velocity, bed form, sediment size, and friction factor for a large data set. Use for large rivers with non-uniform nonsand/gravel conditions.

Karim, Karim, F. Bed material discharge prediction for non-uniform bed sediments. J. nonHyd. Eng., 6, 1998. Eng.,


Sediment sizes 0.08 mm to 0.4 mm (river) and 0.18 mm to 29 mm (flume) and up to 50,000 ppm concentration. Slope range 0.0008 to 0.0243. Will yield similar results to Laursens and Toffaletis equations.

Sediment Transport Equations

AckersAckers-White Method: Expressed sediment transport based on Bagnolds stream power concept.

Ackers, P., and W.R. White, Sediment transport, new approach and analysis, J. Hyd. Div. ASCE, 99, HY 11, 1975 Div.

Assumes that only a portion of the bed shear stress is effective in moving coarse sediment. The total bed shear stress contributes to the suspended fine sediment transport.  Dimensionless parameters include a mobility number, representative sediment number and sediment transport function.  The various coefficients were determined from laboratory data for Di > 0.04 mm and Froude numbers < 0.8. The condition for coarse sediment incipient motion agrees well with Sheilds Ackerscriteria. The Ackers-White approach tends to overestimate the fine sand transport.

Sediment Transport Equations

Yang: Total sediment concentration is a function of the potential energy dissipation per unit weight of water (stream power ~ f(velocity and slope))

Yang, C.T. Sediment Transport Theory and Practice. McGraw Hill, New York, Practice. 1996.

Sediment concentration is a series of dimensionless regression relationships. Based on field & flume data with sediment particles ranging from 0.137 mm to 1.71 mm and flows depths from 0.037 ft to 49.9 ft. Mostly limited to medium to coarse sands and flow depths less than 3 ft Can be applied to sand and gravel

Sediment Transport Equations

Parker-KlingemanParker-Klingeman-McLean developed and tested using gravel or sandy gravel transport data.  Applied to a large number of different gravelgravel-bed rivers.

Sediment Transport Equations

Parker-Klingeman-McLean: Parker-Klingeman-McLean: computes transport rates on the basis of a single grain size: the median grain size of the substrate, D50 Parker, G.; Klingeman, P.C.; McLean, D.L. 1982. Bedload and Klingeman, size distribution in paved gravel bed streams. Journal of Hydraulics Division, ASCE. 108: 544-571. Division, 544 Recognizes role of armor layer in bed load transport rates.

Sediment Transport Equations

Van Rijn: Computes suspended load and bed load separately.

Van Rijn, L.C., Sediment Transport, Part I: Bed load transport, J. Hyd. Eng., ASCE, Eng., no 10. 1984a Van Rijn, L.C., Sediment Transport, Part II: Suspended load transport, J. Hyd. Eng., Eng., ASCE, no 11. 1984b Van Rijn, L.C., Sediment pick-up functions, J. Hyd. Eng., ASCE, no 10. 1984c pick-


Estimates sediment concentration. Qb = Qs+Qb

Sediment Transport Equations

EngelundEngelund-Hansen Method: Bagnolds stream power concept was applied with the similarity principle to derive a sediment transport function.

Engelund, Engelund, F. and Hensen, E. A Monograph on Sediment Transport to Alluvial Hensen, Streams. Copenhagen: Streams. Copenhagen: Teknique Vorlag, 1967. Vorlag,

Uses energy slope, velocity, bed shear stress, median particle diameter, specific weight of sediment and water, and gravitational acceleration Can be used in both dune bed forms and upper regime (plane bed) D50 > 0.15 mm

Finite element method

Why Finite Elements?  Solid mathematical theory  Meshes can adapt to irregular bottom and boundaries  Improved computational efficiency

Finite element method


weighted residual method  Converts the PDEs to a system of ODEs  Triangular 3 nodes elements

RiverFLORiverFLO-2D finite element method

What is new?  Explicit four-step time stepping algorithm fourbased on matrix lumping  Solve on an element-by-element basis element-by Parallelized Fortran 95 using OpenMP

Finite element method

What improvements does it bring over traditional FEM?  Does not require matrix assembly.  No upwind required.  Allows larger time steps than previous explicit FE models.  Faster execution.  Easy addition of h-adaptive refinement.  Highly parallelizable code.

Finite element method


interpolation functions

Finite element method


of ODEs

Finite element method

Finite element method

Finite element method

Finite element method


Lumping improves numerical stability but introduces numerical damping  Selective lumping


in [0.9,0.98] is the selective lumping parameter Selective lumping reduces damping while preserving stability

FEM. Four-Step time stepping scheme Four-

FEM. Von Newmann stability analysis


equations (1D)  Discretize with FEM the linearized equations  Assume form for solution  Substitute in discretized eqns  Spectral radius if amplification matrix less than 1  CFL condition

FEM. Von Newmann stability analysis


Stability limit two times larger than the two-step scheme 33% larger than three-step scheme.

Model parallelization

Subdomain decomposition.

Seamless parallel computation using OpenMP

OpenMP: OpenMP: An API for multi-platform shared-memory parallel multisharedprogramming in C/C++ and Fortran., 2009.,

Each Processor/Core computes one subdomain  Model speedup depends on number of processors, processor cache memory, etc., and is case specific.

Model Speedup
4.50 4.00







1.00 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Number of Processors/Cores

Treatment of dry-wet areas dry

At the beginning of each time step all elements are evaluated to see if they are wet or dry.

A completely dry element is defined when all nodal depths are less than a user defined minimum depth Hmin, that can be zero. Hmin, A partially dry element has at least one node, where depth is less than or equal to Hmin. Hmin.

If one element is completely dry, equations are locally modified and only d /dt=0, dU/dt=0, dV/dt=0 is solved dt=0, dU/dt=0, dV/dt=0 for the element.  If an element is partially dry, the full equations are solved and velocity components are set to zero for all nodes on the element.  Water surface elevations are not altered for dry elements.