The dynamics of rivers involve complex interactions between water, sediment transport, and bed geometry. River management depends on predicting the effects of these interactions, including channel migration and cross-sectional change, thermal and flow pattern effects from intakes and outfalls, and ecological effects of management strategies. FLOW-3D is widely used in the Water and Environment industry to address complex river dynamics and to predict fluvial behavior. In addition to solving free-surface flow patterns, FLOW-3D includes a broad selection of powerful physics packages that address most river management problems. Some examples of processes that are regularly modeled with FLOW-3D include thermal and saline transport and stratification, pollutant fate and transport (reactive and non-reactive), turbulent air entrainment and residence, and sediment transport (including erosion and deposition.

Modeling river hydraulics
High flow condition hydraulic analysis of San Antonio river junction

FLOW-3D is used to solve challenging design problems pertaining to water/civil infrastructure. This video shows a proof-of-concept simulation of the standing wave feature on the Trinity River in Dallas (inset). Accurate design iterations can be explored and achieved quickly, saving engineers both time and effort. Additionally, FLOW-3D‘s extensive multiphysics suite can be used to model associated processes such as sediment scour and air entrainment, which can further enable engineers to navigate design challenges.

Customer Examples

Fraser River Pattullo Bridge - Simulated by Northwest Hydraulics
Simulation of a 6-km long reach of Fraser River in Vancouver, BC. Courtesy of Northwest Hydraulic Consultants. Image shows overall velocity flow field.
Simulation of Fraser River Pattullo Bridge-Northwest Hydraulic Consultants
A closer view of the piers of three bridge crossings. Courtesy of Northwest Hydraulic Consultants. Image shows velocity field around piers.
River modeling CFD software
Flows over submerged vanes for control of river bank erosion are shown colored by velocity magnitude (by University of Illinois; images generated with Tecplot)