Curvilinear immersed boundary method for simulating coupled flow and bed morphodynamic interactions due to sediment transport phenomena

Ali Khosronejad, Seokkoo Kang, Iman Borazjani, Fotis Sotiropoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


The fluid-structure interaction curvilinear immersed boundary (FSI-CURVIB) numerical method of Borazjani et al. [3] is extended to simulate coupled flow and sediment transport phenomena in turbulent open-channel flows. The mobile channel bed is discretized with an unstructured triangular mesh and is treated as a sharp-interface immersed boundary embedded in a background curvilinear mesh used to discretize the general channel outline. The unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) equations closed with the k- ω turbulence model are solved numerically on a hybrid staggered/non-staggered grid using a second-order accurate fractional step method. The bed deformation is calculated by solving the sediment continuity equation in the bed-load layer using an unstructured, finite-volume formulation that is consistent with the CURVIB framework. Both the first-order upwind and the higher-order hybrid GAMMA schemes [12] are implemented to discretize the bed-load flux gradients and their relative accuracy is evaluated through a systematic grid refinement study. The GAMMA scheme is employed in conjunction with a sand-slide algorithm for limiting the bed slope at locations where the material angle of repose condition is violated. The flow and bed deformation equations are coupled using the partitioned loose-coupling FSI-CURVIB approach [3]. The hydrodynamic module of the method is validated by applying it to simulate the flow in an 180° open-channel bend with fixed bed. To demonstrate the ability of the model to simulate bed morphodynamics and evaluate its accuracy, we apply it to calculate turbulent flow through two mobile-bed open channels, with 90° and 135° bends, respectively, for which experimental measurements are available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-843
Number of pages15
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NSF grants EAR-0120914 (as part of the National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics) and EAR-0738726 . Computational resources were provided by the University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute.

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Channel bends
  • Immersed boundary method
  • Numerical models
  • Sediment transport models
  • Steady state
  • Turbulence


Dive into the research topics of 'Curvilinear immersed boundary method for simulating coupled flow and bed morphodynamic interactions due to sediment transport phenomena'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this