2008 – Modelling extreme flows over a stepped spillway

Karen Riddette, David Ho, Mike Phillips

Abstract: Stepped spillways have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years as new research has better described flow conditions and quantified the energy dissipation capacity of this type of spillway.

While carrying out hydraulic modelling for the Hinze Dam Stage 3 upgrade project using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis, extensive numerical testing and validation of the CFD model for the proposed 0.8H:1V stepped spillway design was undertaken. It was found that for the expected Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) discharge, the high flow depth would result in a non-aerated, non-uniform flow, typically seen in the developing flow region just beyond the spillway crest, occurring over the entire length of the stepped spillway. To date, only limited laboratory studies have been published concerning energy losses in this particular flow regime.

This paper examines the ability of CFD modelling to compute energy dissipation and air entrainment effects in stepped spillways under extreme flow conditions. Where possible, the computed results were validated against limited published data. Some new data obtained by the CFD model is presented for energy loss in the developing flow region that has not been established before.

Keywords: stepped spillway, CFD, energy loss, developing flow.

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