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Hydraulics, water and temperature action on hydraulic structures

Assessment and prediction of air entrainment and geyser formation in a bottom outlet: Field observations and CFD simulation

Air entrainment at the intake of a bottom outlet often gives rise to air pockets in its conduit and formation of geysers. The outlet in question comprises a bulkhead gate, gate shaft, horizontal conduit, and exit. Operations show that it suffers from appreciable flow fluctuations and blowouts in the tailwater, which leads to gate operation restrictions. For the purpose of understanding the hydraulic phenomenon, both prototype discharge tests and three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling of two-phase flows are performed. The operational focus of the facility are small and large gate openings. The CFD results reveal that, with air entrained in the gate shaft, continual breakup and coalescence of air bubbles in the conduit typify the flow. At small openings below 1 meter, the air-water flow is characterized by either distinct blowouts of regular frequency or continuous air release. In terms of geyser behaviors inclusive of frequency, the agreement is good between field and numerical studies. At large openings, the gate becomes fully submerged, and the flow is discharged without air entrainment and blowouts. The air-water flow features in a typical bottom outlet layout in Sweden is showcased, which is intended to serve as an illustration of the study procedure for other similar outlets.

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Contact: James Yang  , Shicheng Li  (profile pages)

Effects of inclination angles on stepped chute flows

Owing to its effective energy dissipation and aeration, a stepped spillway is commonly used for flood release in hydraulic projects. Its conventional design features horizontal step surfaces. Designed for certain flow rates, it does not function satisfactorily at larger discharges. To improve this, layouts with inclined step surfaces, both downward and upward, are proposed. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling in 3D is performed to examine and compare their flow properties in the skimming flow. The results suggest that a shift from a downward to an upward layout leads to a gradual decrease in the flow velocity at the chute end; the latter exhibit higher energy dissipation efficiency. Moreover, equations are developed to estimate the velocity and energy loss. The flow velocity in the developing zone, described by a power law, shows a decline with an increase in the angle of inclination. The downward layout is subjected to somewhat higher risk of cavitation if implemented in a prototype. The extreme pressure loads acting upon an upward layout are larger, and a correlation is proposed for its prediction. On an inclined surface, either upward or downward, the pressure demonstrates an S-shaped distribution. On a vertical surface, the flow pressure increases, after an initial decline over a short distance, towards the chute bottom.

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Contact: Shicheng Li  , James Yang  (profile pages)

Lessons learned regarding cracking of a concrete arch am due to seasonal temperature variations

Dams located in cold areas are subjected to large seasonal temperature variations and many concrete dams have cracked as a result. In the 14th International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) Benchmark Workshop, a case study was presented where contributors should predict the cracking and displacements due to seasonal variations. The conclusions from this case study are presented. Overall, the results from the contributors are well in line with the observations that can be made on the dam and the measurements performed. This shows that using non-linear numerical models is a suitable tool to accurately predict cracking and estimate the displacements of cracked dams. This case study also highlighted important aspects that need special consideration in order to obtain realistic results that can be used to predict the crack pattern, these being: (1) the importance of performing transient thermal analyses based on robin boundary conditions; (2) the influence of contact formulation between the concrete dam and the foundation; and (3) the use of realistic non-linear material properties. The results and conclusions presented constitute one important step in achieving best practices to estimate dam safety and better understand the potential failure modes and ageing of concrete dams.

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Contact: Richard Malm , Rikard Hellgren , Jonas Enzell  (profile pages)

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Last changed: May 07, 2021