Author(s): Reinaldo Garcia-Martinez; Ivan C Saavedra; Beatriz Febres De Power; Eduardo Valera; Carlos Villoria
Abstract: This article presents a two-dimensional finite element mathematical model to simulate suspended sediment transport in coastal regions. Sediment transport is formulated in terms of a hydrodynamic model plus a convection- diffusion equation with source and sink terms representing the erosion and deposition processes. Test problems treating the evolution of a hypothetical dredged trench in a channel, perpendicular to the main flow direction, are used to evaluate the sensitivity of the model to empirical parameters. The model was calibrated, validated and later applied to predict the circulation patterns and bottom bed evolution in Puerto Miranda oil terminal, located in the Maracaibo Strait, Venezuela. Results show that the model is able to predict the bed evolution of the dredged access channels to the terminal. Notwithstanding the complexity of the sediment transport phenomena that occur in dredged trenches, the relatively simple model proposed herein is capable of giving useful results in practical problems.