Author(s): Michele La Rocca; Claudia Adduce; Giampiero Sciortino; Allen Bateman Pinzon; Maria Antonietta Boniforti
Keywords: Gravity current; hyperbolic partial differential equation; shallow-water equations; stratified fluid
Abstract: A two-layer, shallow-water model for three-dimensional (3D) gravity currents is proposed. The formulation results from the shallow-water-equations for two layers of immiscible liquids, subjected by the rigid-lid condition, so that the upper surface of the lighter layer remains perfectly flat during the motion. The arising pressure must be determined by solving the equations of motion, which is no problem for two-dimensional and axisymmetric gravity currents because the pressure is easily eliminated. In 3D gravity currents, the pressure is determined by solving a Poisson equation, together with momentum and mass balance equations. By means of a suitable scaling and a perturbation expansion, the equations are uncoupled from each other so that the problem is considerably simplified. Numerical results are compared with 3D lock-exchange release experiments. A comparison between numerical and experimental results of the gravity current indicates a fairly good agreement, whereas the results concerning the upper layer field variables shows that the numerical results are consistent with the experiments.