Hybrid LES/RANS modelling of free surface flow through vegetation

Chi Wai Li, L. H. Yu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Vegetated channels are environmentally friendly and frequently used to convey water for drainage and recreational purposes. The design and assessment of these channels often requires the use of numerical models which are based on the Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) approach or Large Eddy Simulations (LES). It is well accepted that both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. To overcome these disadvantages a hybrid model combining the RANS and LES methodologies is proposed in this work. The major task for the model development is to couple the RANS and the LES models effectively. Various methods have been investigated and the results are as follows. At the inflow boundary of the computational domain, a semi-analytical velocity profile for submerged vegetation is used as the RANS inflow condition to shorten the unrealistic flow transition region. At the interface of the upstream RANS region and the downstream LES region, turbulence fluctuations are artificially generated using a spectral line processor, with the mean velocity determined by using the frozen cloud assumption. At the interface of the upstream LES region and the downstream RANS region, a virtual momentum sink is imposed to dissipate the sub-grid scale fluctuations and to shorten the transition region. The final model has been verified against experiments of flow through submerged and emergent vegetation, as well as a partly vegetated channel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1722-1732
Number of pages11
JournalComputers and Fluids
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010


  • Free surface flow
  • Hybrid RANS/LES model
  • Vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Engineering


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