Measurement and prediction of bottom boundary layer hydrodynamics under modulated oscillatory flows

T. O'Donoghue* (Corresponding Author), A.G. Davies, Mahesa Bhawanin, D.A. Van der A

*Corresponding author for this work

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Velocities are measured using LDA within the bottom boundary layer for 10
oscillatory flow tunnel experiments involving regular and amplitude modulated
oscillatory flows over a gravel-rough bed and a sand-rough bed. Corresponding
regular and modulated flows were equivalent in terms of rms velocity, oscillatory
flow period, skewness and asymmetry. The experimental results are compared
with predictions based on a 1DV RANS model with k − turbulence closure. The effects of modulation on the hydrodynamics of individual flow half-cycles and on the time-averaged hydrodynamics are analysed. Turbulence is carried over from one half-cycle to the following half-cycle but the main hydrodynamic properties within a half-cycle (boundary layer thickness, peak turbulent kinetic energy, peak turbulent stress) show little or no dependence on prior half-cycle
flow conditions. Turbulence propagation from the bed and vertical profiles of
skewness, asymmetry, time-averaged turbulent kinetic energy and time-averaged turbulent stress show remarkably little effect of modulation. Modulation does not affect the shape of the time-averaged velocity profile generated by the nonsymmetric flows, but it does reduce the magnitude. The RANS model shows generally good agreement with the measured hydrodynamics above about one grain diameter from the bed, but, because of its assumption of rough turbulent flow, poorly predicts the hydrodynamics of the low-velocity half-cycles of the modulated flows over the sand-rough bed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103954
Number of pages19
JournalCoastal Engineering
Early online date6 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

The work was carried out as part of the SINBAD research project funded by 900 the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (grants EP/J00507X/1 and EP/J005541/1). MB acknowledges funding from the University of Aberdeen to support his PhD. The authors acknowledge the support of the University of Aberdeen technical staff for the experimental work, especially that of Fluids Laboratory Technician Roy Gillanders.


  • oscillatory flow
  • modulated flow
  • boundary layer
  • turbulence
  • flow tunnel
  • RANS mode


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