The Effects of Basin Slope and Boundary Friction on the Character and Plunge Location of Hyperpycnal Flows Entering a Laterally Unbounded Basin


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Virginia Tech


This thesis focuses on the behaviour of hyperpycnal plumes in river mouth discharges. The plunging of high density flows in two dimensional channels has been extensively studied before. A fundamental assumption in these studies is that the flow is laterally confined. These studies allow the flow to plunge only in two directions, the horizontal x-direction and the vertical z-direction. The goal of this study is to determine if there is observable plunging of hyperpycnal flows in the lateral y-direction, i.e. lateral spreading, in a three dimensional domain and to find out the parameters influencing the lateral spread. Previous studies conducted in laterally confined channels suggest that hyperpycnal flows plunge when the flow reaches a densimetric Froude number of unity. This study attempts to find the densimetric Froude number at hyperpycnal plunging in a three dimensional domain and if it is influenced by the factors that also influence the spread. This study also analyzes whether the cross-shore location for plunging changes when lateral spreading is accounted for, relative to a two dimensional analysis and if the plunging is limited to flow reaching a certain depth. This was accomplished through a series of experimental simulations on a hypothetical river mouth domain using Delft-3D, a hydrodynamic modeling software. Three parameters viz. the bottom slope of the receiving basin, the bottom friction and the density difference between inflow and ambient liquid were varied to test their influence on the plume spread rate.



Plunging, Hyperpycnal Flows, Laterally Unconfined Basin