Numerical Simulation of Channel Flows Image 1
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Numerical Simulation of Channel Flows (Image 1)

July 1, 2010
Numerical Simulation of Channel Flows (Image 1) An aerial photograph of the Elkhorn Slough on the coast of Monterey Bay, Calif., looking eastward from an altitude of 1500 meters (Figure taken from Broenkow and Breaker, 2005). Researchers Gang Zhao, Peter Kitanidis and Robert Street from the Environmental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Stanford University, used a three-dimensional numerical model--which simply speaking, is a computer program--to study the hydrodynamics of complex channel flows. [Image 1 of 4 related images. See Image 2.] More about this Image Understanding how water flows in channels is important for engineering projects, such as flood control, channel bank erosion control, and habitats restoration. The purpose of this study was to develop a numerical model and apply it to simulate complex channel flows. To learn more about the model, visit the SUNTAN (Stanford Unstructured Nonhydrostatic Terrain-following Adaptive Navier-Stokes Simulator) Web site. The research team simulated the tidal currents in Elkhorn Slough, which is about 10 kilometers long and consists of a meandering main channel and a large area of mudflat and marsh. Elkhorn Slough has the second largest tidal salt marsh in California, which provides habitat for many plants and animals. However, the size of the salt marsh at Elkhorn Slough is decreasing due in part to tidal erosion. This simulation provides high-resolution velocity distribution inside the slough, which is a key step in understanding the hydrodynamics of the slough, and is important for future habitat conservation and restoration projects. [This research was supported in part by National Science Foundation (NSF) grant 00-87842. Computations were performed at Stanford University's Center for Computational Earth and Environmental Science. SUNTAN is sponsored in part by NSF grant 0113111.] (Date of Image: September 2002)

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