The use of computational fluid dynamics in predicting the tidal flushing of animal burrows

Heron, S.F., and Ridd, P.V. (2001) The use of computational fluid dynamics in predicting the tidal flushing of animal burrows. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science , 52 (4). pp. 411-421.

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Numerical hydrodynamic modelling has been used extensively over the last few decades to simulate flow in the ocean, bays and estuaries; however, modelling of much smaller scale phenomena is less common. In this work a commercially available Computational Fluid Dynamics package (FIDAP), normally used for industrial applications, was used to simulate tidally-induced flow in multi-opening animal burrows. U-shaped burrows of varying complexities were modelled to determine the effect of different surface characteristics and burrow geometries on surface water velocities, burrow velocities and burrow flushing times. The turbulent 2D model showed the slope of the surface water was proportional to the square of both the surface and burrow velocities. The effect of placing a root in the surface flow was to reduce the surface water velocity; however, the burrow flow depended upon the root position. For the root location either upstream or downstream of the burrow, the burrow velocity was reduced by 50%. With the root located between the burrow openings the burrow velocity increased by 200%, due to the increase in pressure difference across the burrow openings. A buttress root placed in the flow immediately downstream of the upstream burrow, caused the burrow flushing rate to increase significantly with increasing buttress height. Flushing times for burrows of varying depth were determined computationally by use of a tracer for the burrow water. For a burrow of depth 1·2 m, the flushing times were 5 and 28 min for root location between the burrow openings and downstream of the burrow, respectively. Animal burrows often consist of multiply-connected loops. A second burrow was added to the primary burrow and flushing times were found to be 15 and 38 min, respectively. A burrow system of four connected burrows was modelled which had corresponding flushing times up to 24 and 47 min, respectively. The calculated times are consistent with the hypothesis that a significant flushing of animal burrows occurs within a single tidal event. This preliminary investigation indicates that CFD models may be very useful in studying small scale hydrodynamic phenomena such as flow in animal burrows.

Item ID: 13196
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1096-0015
Keywords: burrows; computer simulation; flushing time
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2010 05:57
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0405 Oceanography > 040503 Physical Oceanography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences @ 100%
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