Articles | Volume 14, issue 4
27 Apr 2010
 | 27 Apr 2010

CFD modelling approach for dam break flow studies

C. Biscarini, S. Di Francesco, and P. Manciola

Abstract. This paper presents numerical simulations of free surface flows induced by a dam break comparing the shallow water approach to fully three-dimensional simulations. The latter are based on the solution of the complete set of Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations coupled to the Volume of Fluid (VOF) method.

The methods assessment and comparison are carried out on a dam break over a flat bed without friction, a dam break over a triangular bottom sill and a dam break flow over a 90° bend. Experimental and numerical literature data are compared to present results.

The results demonstrate that the shallow water approach, even if able to sufficiently reproduce the main aspects of the fluid flows, loses some three-dimensional phenomena, due to the incorrect shallow water idealization that neglects the three-dimensional aspects related to the gravity force.