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Dynamics of dense gravity currents and mixing in an up-sloping and converging vee-shaped channel

Author(s): Janek Laanearu; Alan J. S. Cuthbertson; Peter A. Davies

Linked Author(s): Janek Laanearu, Peter A. Davies

Keywords: Buoyancy-driven flows; density currents; Froude number; hydraulic models; laboratory studies; Reynolds number; Richardson number; stratified flows

Abstract: Detailed velocity and density measurements are used to investigate dense water dynamics in an inclined, silled channel of triangular cross-section with varying side slope α and adverse bed slope φ. For the steeper channel configuration considered (φ=3.6°), the dense-water bottom current is shown to be frictionally-controlled, with an internal flow structure characterized by a sharp pycnocline and decreasing isopycnal separation in the along-channel direction. For the milder up-sloping channel (φ=1.7°), the dense water outflow is shown to be hydraulically-controlled as the channel sill section is approached, with internal flow dynamics characterized by increasing isopycnal separation in the along-channel direction. Analysis of the gradient Richardson number Rig of the flow confirms that hydraulically-controlled flows dilute the active bottom water due to interfacial mixing. A gradually-varying internal flow model and a two-layer hydraulic modelling approach are shown, respectively, to represent adequately the outflow behaviour for these two bed slope conditions.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00221686.2013.841779

Year: 2014

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