Flow Characteristics in a Rotating Circular Flume

B. Gharabaghi*, 1, C. Inkratas1, B.G. Krishnappan2, R.P. Rudra1
1 School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada
2 National Water Research Institute, Environment Canada, Burlington, Ontario, L7R 4A6, Canada

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Creative Commons License
© 2007 Gharabaghi et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Water Resources Engineering, Room 2386, Thornborough Building, School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada; Tel: (519)824-4120 ext. 58451; Fax: (519)836-0227; E-mail:


Increased construction activity and associated receiving water concerns in the Greater Toronto Area has prompted this study to advance our knowledge on cohesive sediment transport processes in rivers and lake environments. Flow characteristics in a rotating circular flume at the National Water Research Institute (NWRI), Burlington, Ontario were studied using a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model. The objective of this study was to use a CFD model to predict the complex 3D turbulent flow characteristics, including the tangential flow velocity distribution, turbulent secondary flow circulation patterns, and the bed shear stress distributions. The numerical model was calibrated using experimental data collected using a Laser Doppler Anemometer for velocity profiles and measurements obtained by a Preston tube for bed shear stress distributions. Tangential velocity profiles and bed shear velocity distributions across the rotating circular flume were used to evaluate the accuracy of the model predictions. When compared with experimental smooth bed shear stress data, the model performed reasonably well for the range of flume speeds examined. The calibrated CFD model was then used for simulating a series of 210 scenarios using varying ring operating speeds over a range of flow depths and bed roughness heights. The numerical simulation results were then used to study the complex 3D turbulent flow conditions in the circular flume at NWRI, including velocity profiles, turbulence characteristics of flow and bed shear stress distributions.

Keywords: Rotating circular flume, Bed shear stress, Computational fluid dynamics.