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Development of a 2-D numerical model for simulation of air distribution in

high speed air water flow

Javanbarg, M.B.1, Zarrati, A.R.2, Jalili, M.R.3, Safavi, Kh4.
1Post graduate Student, Dep. of Civil and Environmental Eng., Amirkabir University of Technology,
Tehran, Iran, 032d842n@y05.kobe-u.ac.jp
2Associate Prof., Dep. of Civil and Environmental Eng., Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran,
Iran, Zarrati@aut.ac.ir, 64543002
3Assistant Prof., Dep. of Water Engineering, Power and Water University of Technology, Tehran,
Iran, jalili@pwut.ac.ir
4Senior Research Engineer, Water Research Institute, Tehran, Iran, K.safavi@wri.ac.ir

Abstract: In the present study a quasi 2-D numerical model is developed for calculating air
concentration distribution in rapid flows. The model solves air continuity equation (convection
diffusion equation) in the whole flow domain. This solution is then coupled with calculations of the
free surface in which air content in the flow is also considered.
To verify the model, its results are compared with an analytical solution as well as a 2-D,
numerical model and close agreement was achieved. The model results were also compared with
experimental data. This comparison showed that the decrease in air concentration near the channel
bed in an aerated flow could be well predicted by the model. The present simple numerical model
could therefore be used for engineering purposes.

Keywords: High speed flow, Cavitation, Aeration, Numerical model, Air concentration.

1. Introduction then diffused into the flow. However, to have

air concentration of 8% near the chute
Over chute spillways, as flow approaches a surface, mean air concentration in a section
uniform state in downstream direction, flow should be more than 30% and chute slope
velocity increases and flow depth decreases. should be greater than 22.5º. [6]
These changes reduce cavitation index, and
therefore increase the risk of cavitation Therefore, protection of spillways from
attack. Experience shows that flow aeration cavitation can not always be guaranteed with
is the most effective and economical way for surface aeration, and so artificial aeration
prevention and/or minimizing the damage may be required by using an aerator on
due to cavitation [4,6]. spillways [4]. The distance between aerators
is a main point to be considered in designing
Defining air concentration in a small control aerators. Such a distance depends on the
volume as c = V a , where Va and Vw decrease in air concentration rate within
V a +V w deaeration zone downstream of an aerator
represent air volume and water volume [4]. Hence, estimating the distance in which
respectively, Peterka [10] showed that about air concentration near the bed is less than 8%
8 % of air concentration near the channel bed would be a main factor in determining the
is sufficient to protect concrete surfaces location of a second aerator in order to
against cavitation. increase again air concentration near the bed.
It is therefore necessary to study air
Surface aeration from the free surface concentration distribution in air-water flows
naturally occurs along chute spillways and is to be able to determine the number of

International Journal of Civil Engineerng. Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2007 1

aerators needed in a chute spillway. Despite previous studies, still a general and
practical method is not presented for
Empirical equations based on hydraulic calculation of air distribution in free surface
model tests have been used in many flows.
researches to evaluate reduction of air
concentration downstream of aerators. A quasi 2-D model is developed in the
However, due to insufficient experimental present research work for investigating air
data and also scale effects in physical concentration distribution in rapid flows. The
models, these equations are not very reliable. model consists of solving the air continuity
On the other hand physical model studies equation (convection - diffusion equation of
need long time and are also very expensive. air) together with calculating the free surface
location. Results of this model can be used to
Based on physical model studies, Falvey [4] predict air distribution in air-water flows as
correlated air discharge detrainment form the well as reduction of air concentration within
flow to the distance from an aerator. Prusza the deaeration zone, downstream of aerators.
[11] stated that the decrease rate of air
concentration in deaeration zone is between
15% to 20% per 1 m along the chute. Minor
[7] found this rate to be 10% to 15% per 1 m 2. Governing Equations and Basic
of chute length. May [6] studied air Assumptions
concentration distribution downstream of
aerators and presented an exponential Assuming a small control volume (Figure 1),
function between air concentration near the continuity equation for air volume in a 2-D
channel surface and distance from the flow could be written as follows [15]:
aerator. Chanson [1] simulated air
concentration variation along a chute ∂c ∂c ∂ 2c ∂ 2c ∂c ∂c
u +v = ε (d ) x + ε +us +v s
∂x ∂y ∂x ∂y ∂x ∂y
2 ( d ) y 2
spillway by simultaneously solving the
energy equation and air continuity equation. (1)
Nokes [9] calculated air concentration
distribution in flow by analytically solving Where, ε(d)x and ε(d)y are turbulence
mass conservation equation for air volume diffusivity coefficient, u and v are flow
and supposing a uniform flow. In this velocity, and us and vs are air bubbles rising
solution turbulence diffusivity coefficient εd velocity in x and y directions, respectively. In
was assumed parabolic in depth. Using K – ε deriving this equation air-water mixture is
turbulence model, Zarrati [15] presented a 2- assumed as a single phase flow with air
D numerical model for air distribution in content in the mixture determined by the
high speed free surface flows. The results of average density of the mixture ρmix, that is:
this model were compared with experimental ρmix=ρw(1- c), where ρw is water density.
data of air distribution downstream of an air
injection slot in a channel and good
agreement was obtained. Applying his model Since v and ε(d)x have much smaller values
to downstream of aerators, Zarrati and than u and ε(d)y respectively in a uni-
Hardwick [17] evaluated air concentration directional supercritical flow and also us is
variations in the dearation zone and much smaller than vs, the continuity equation
compared them to experimental results. for air volume could be simplified as follows:

2 International Journal of Civil Engineerng. Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2007

u s .c
wx wc
Hy v s .c

Fig. 1 A small control volume for developing air continuity equation

∂c ∂ 2c ∂c
u = ε (d ) y +v (2) bubbles increases as air concentration
∂x ∂y 2 ∂y
increase, since bigger bubbles are formed at
In a uni-directional flow in an open channel, higher air contents. Therefore, a value of 12
distribution of turbulence viscosity cm/s was considered for vs for air
coefficient in depth can be described by the concentrations less than 5%, a value of 19
following equation[8]: cm/s for air concentrations between 5% to
10% and a value of 25 cm/s for
y (3) concentrations over 10%. [16]
ε ν = u *κy (1 − )
where, H stands for flow depth, y is the Distribution of flow velocity in depth can be
distance of each point from the bed, κ is Von calculated by a logarithmic distribution for
Karman constant coefficient, equal to 0.4 and fully developed turbulent flow. Knowing
u* = gRS f i s b e d s h e a r v e l o c i t y, R absolute roughness of the bed Ks and shear
represents hydraulic radius and Sf is energy velocity, the following relationships can be
slope. The relationship between turbulence used for velocity calculations[12]:
viscosity coefficient and turbulence diffusion
u *K s
coefficient can be represented as εd=εv/σt in If < 5 a smooth hydraulic bed
which σt represents Schmidt Number with a ν
u 1 9u y
range of 0.5 to 2 [5]. In air-water mixtures, = ln( * ) (4)
when air concentration near the bed is high, u* κ ν
rising air bubbles intensify turbulence and as
a result εd increases (or σt decreases) [15]. u *K s
If > 70 a rough hydraulic bed
For this reason, σt was considered 0.7 in the ν
deaeration zone to account for the effect of
u 1 30 y
rising bubbles on increasing the intensity of = ln( ) (5)
turbulence. u* κ Ks

Studies indicate that rising velocity of Where, κ represents Von Karman constant

International Journal of Civil Engineerng. Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2007 3

Fig. 2 Computational domain and Cartesian mesh

coefficient =0.4, y is distance from the bed Evaluating variables in equation 6 yields the
and v is kinematic viscosity of water. following Algebraic equation :

a p c p = a n c n + as c s + aw c w (7)

3. Numerical Solution of Equations

Where ap, an, as and aw are known
The model presented in this work is a quasi coefficients and are defined as:
2-D model to calculate distribution of air
up 2ε (d ) p ε (d ) p v s
concentration in rapid flows. It consists of ap = ( + ), an = ( + ),
solving a 2-D convection - diffusion δx δy 2
δy 2 2δy
equation, assuming logarithmic velocity ε (d ) p v up
as = ( 2 − s ) , aw =
distribution and parabolic turbulence δy 2δy δx
diffusion coefficient in depth. Finite
differences method with defined boundary Knowing air concentration distribution at the
conditions is used for numerical solution of inlet section, above equation can be solved at
the convection diffusion equation. In a flow each section using Three Diagonal Matrix
field shown in figure 2, equation (2) can be Algorithm (TDMA) [13] method and air
discretized as follows: concentration can be calculated at different
points in the computational domain by
c p − cw c n − 2c p + c s cn − cs marching technique. In this technique, air
up = (ε d ) p +v s concentration is calculated in each section
δx δy 2
referring to known values in the upstream
(6) section. After air concentration is calculated

4 International Journal of Civil Engineerng. Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2007

Fig. 3 Computational mesh at free surface

in each section, solution progresses towards surface, computational mesh will be cut at
downstream sections. Flow velocities at each the free surface (Figure 3). To deal with this
section are calculated using equations 4 or 5 problem first and second terms on the right
and ε v using equation 3. side of equation 2 should be descreticized
close to the free surface as follows:
Backward difference is used for the left-hand
∂c c p − cw
side term of equation 6 (i.e. in x direction) = (8)
∂x δx
and central difference approximation is used
for the terms on the right (i.e. in y direction).
Therefore, first order and second order ∂c cn − cs (9)
approximation is used in x and y directions ∂y p
(1 + β )δy
respectively. In this way, marching technique
∂ 2c 2 cn − c p c p − cs
is possible for computation. Calculation ( − ) (10)
errors can be minimuzed if mesh sizes δ x ∂y 2 p
δy (1 + β ) βδ y δy
and δ y are considered small enough. This
algorithm requires minimum of computer Hence, coefficients of equation 7 take the
memory owing to application of marching following forms at the free surface:
technique and time of computation will be up 2ε ( d ) p 2ε ( d ) p vs
short. In this condition reducing the mesh ap = ( + ) , an = ( + )
δx βδy 2
β (1 + β )δy 2
(1 + β )δy
size will not increase the time of computation
2ε ( d ) p vs up
considerably. as = ( − ), aw =
(1 + β )δy 2
(1 + β )δy δx
Regarding the curvature of the flow free (11)

International Journal of Civil Engineerng. Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2007 5

Where β is a value less than 1. conditions.

3. Correct flow depth at each section based

4. Boundary Conditions and Solution on calculated mean air concentration at each
Algorithm section (see Section 5) and return to step 2.

The present numerical model is employed to 4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 up to the point that
calculate air reduction rate downstream of an the convergence criteria is met. Such a
injection slot installed at the bed of a channel criteria is defined as follows for the present
and also in deaeration zone downstream of numerical model:
aerators. Boundary conditions for free k 1 k
y y
surface and bed are similar in both of these Max k 1
cases and will be described in this section. y
Boundary condition at the inlet section will
be given in describing each case separatelly Where y k+1 and y k represent calculated flow
in the following sections. depth at two successive iterations and ε is a
small value.
Free surface is assumed as a symmetric line
and therefore concentration gradients normal
to free surface was assumed zero. Since the
slope of the free surface is small this 5. Calculation of the Free Surface
condition could be considered as cc/c y=0.
At the channel bed also cc/c y=0 . Since At the first stage of calculation as described
equation 6 is parabolic, no boundary in the previous section step by step method
condition at the downstream section is can be used to calculate the free surface
requied. assuming no air in water. Alternativelly water
surface level can be considered parallel to the
To run the numerical model, at the first step bed at the beginning of calculations. In the
geometry of the flow field including the next step, sloving equation 11, air
length of the channel, channel width and concentration is calculated in the whole flow
slope, mesh sizes as well as hydraulic field. Knowing air concentration at all
characteristics of the flow such as discharge sections, free surface of air-water mixture
and bed Roughness should be introduced to could be calculated using Wood method as
the program. Solution should then follow the follows [14].
following steps:
To calculate water surface position in the
1. Assume a water surface profile at the presence of air, bed friction coefficient
beginning of calculations. This profile can be should be evaluated first. Previous researches
calculated using step by step method [3] and have shown that existance of air in the flow
assuming no air content. decreases the friction coefficient. Using
experimental data of aerated flows in
2. Solve equation 7 in the whole equilibrium zone (where gradient of air
computational domain by marching concentration in flow direction is zero) Wood
technique and calculate air concentration at [14] developed a relationship between mean
all mesh points considering boundary air concentration in depth -c e and Darcy-

6 International Journal of Civil Engineerng. Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2007

Weisbach friction Coefficient fe . This each section, −c, flow depth of air-water
relationship can also be used in gradullay mixture can be evaluated using the following
varied flows with air concentration changing equation[2,14]:
in flow direction.
y = (15)
Wood showed that mean specific energy of 1−c
air water flow in unit weight at each section Where y represents flow depth in the air-
can be written in the following form: water mixture. Flow depths calculated from
equation 15 can then be used in the next
u w2 (12) iteration for calculation of air concentration
SE = d cos θ + E
2g in the flow domain using Equation 11. After
where d represents depth of flow with no air this stage Darcy-Weisbach friction
content, uw = qw / d is mean flow velocity of Coefficient fe is updated and iteration
the air-water mixture, qw is unit discharge, continues till convergence is achieved.
θ is the angle between channel bed and the
horizon. Measured values on Aviemore Dam
- 6. Model Verification
show that E is independent of c and has a
value of 1.05. Total energy at each section
can therefore be written as: [14] Results of an analytical model as well as
physical model studies downstream of an air
injection slot and deaeration zone
1.05 qw 2
H = z + d cos θ + ( ) (13) downstream of an aerator are used to verify
2g d the accuracy of the numerical model.

Where H represents total energy and z is the 6.1 Comparing Results of the Present model
bed elevation. Differentiating Equation 13 with Nokes Analytical Model
and simplifying it, dynamic equation of Analytically solution of air continuity
gradually varied flow in air-water mixture equation (Equation 2) is presented by Nokes
can be found without considering the bulking (1985) [9]. To solve this equation,
effect due to air entrainment. This equation Nokes considered following distributions for
can be written as: flow velocity and turbulence diffusion
d sin θ − S f (14)
d = y α
dx cos θ − 1 .05 Fr 2 u = u (1 + α )( ) (16)
qw qw2 f e d y
Where Fr 2 =
gd 3
, S f = (
8 gd 3
) and
d εν = ε d = u*κy (1 − ) (17)
represent depth variations along the flow. where, α = 0.1852, H represents flow depth
and u- is mean flow velocity. A channel 4 m
Assuming a flow depth at the beginning of long with a slope of 45º and a mean flow
computation, Equation 11 is solved for velocity of 30 m/s and constant flow depth of
calculation of air concentration in the flow 4 cm was assumed in these studies. Air
domain. Equation 14 will then be solved and concentration of 50% was introduced at the
flow depth without air will be obtained. inlet section from 0.02 to 0.12 of flow depth
Knowing d and mean air concentration at and rising velocity of bubbles was assumed

International Journal of Civil Engineerng. Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2007 7

Com parison betw een Nokes analitically solution and presented
num erical m odel






0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Concentration (%)
Nokes Solution (X=5H1) Num .Model Solution (X=5H1)
Nokes Solution (X=10H1) Num . Model Solution (X=10H1)

Fig. 4 Comparison between Nokes analytical solution and the present numerical model

Fig. 5 Air injection from bed

8 International Journal of Civil Engineerng. Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2007

20 cm/s. rates smaller than 5% and greater than
5%(and less than 10%), respectively based
Present model was solved in combination on previous experiences [16]. Equations 4
with equations 16 and 17 for the same and 5 were used to calculate flow velocity
problem and concentration distribution and equation 3 was employed to evaluate
profiles were calculated at different sections. turbulence diffusion coefficient, assuming a
Comparison of the calculated concentration Schmidt Number value of 0.7. As was
profiles with analytical results of Nokes in mentioned before, to protect concrete surface
two sections at 5, and 10 times the flow depth from cavitation attack air concentration near
downstream of the inlet section are shown in the channel invert should not be less than 8%
Figure 4. [10]. It is therefore important to predict the
air content near the channel surface.
As it is shown in Figure 4, only a slight Longitudinal profiles of concentration at 3
discrepancy is seen between two models mm above the bed, for two low and high air
which could be due to errors of reading injection rates are compared with
numbers of iso-concentration lines presented experimental data and numerical model of
by Nokes (1985) [9]. So, it can be concluded Zarrati [15] in Figure 6 and 7. Sensitivity
that results of the present model well agrees analysis was also performed to investigate
with the analytical solution. the effect of computational mesh size. It was
concluded that for values of 0.001 m and
6.2 Prediction of Air Concentration 0.0001 m for length and height of the
Distribution Downstream of an Air Injection computational mesh, results would not be
affected by mesh dimensions.
In this section the present model is used to
simulate air diffusion downstream of an As it is shown in figures 6 and 7, there is a
injection slot. good agreement between results of the
present model and experimental
Zarrati [15] injected air through a porous slot measurements. Comparing present model
installed at the bed of a flume and measured results with 2-D Κ−ε numerical model of
air distribution at downstream sections, using Zarrati [15] indicates accuracy of the present
a needle probe [18]. The first section quasi 2-D model in the unidirectional model
immediately downstream of the slot was used tested here. It should be noted that the present
as the inlet section in the numerical model model solves only few equations with the
and measured air concentrations at this capability of free surface calculation and can
section were used as the initial boundary be developed much faster.
condition. (Figure 5).

Experimental flume had a bed slope of 14.5º, 6.3 Predicting Concentration Distribution
a bed width of 15 cm, a flow depth of 2.4 cm, Downstream of an Aerator
a mean flow velocity of 3.4 m/s and Darcy- Zarrati [17] measured air concentration and
Weisbach Coefficient of the flume was 0.024. velocity at different sections downstream of
Air was injected to the high speed flow with an aerator by a double needle probe. Slope of
different discharges. Rising velocity of the flow channel was 14.5o and flow
bubbles was considered 12 cm/s and 19 cm/s discharge was 23.24 lit/s. To simulate air
in the numerical model for air concentration distribution in the deaeration zone

International Journal of Civil Engineerng. Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2007 9

Com parison betw een experim ental data and num erical m odel (Zarrati, 1994)
w ith presented num erical m odel for slot

% Concentration

0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Distance dow nstream in cm

Exp.Data [15] K-Epsilon Model [15] Num .m odel.present study

Fig. 6 Longitudinal profiles of air concentration at 3 mm from the bed at low air discharge

Com parison betw een experim ental data & num erical m odel (Zarrati, 1994)
and presented num erical m odel for slot


Concentration (%)

0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Distance sownstream (cm)

Exp. Data.[15] K-Epsilon model[15] Num. model. Present Study

Fig. 7 Longitudinal profiles of air concentration at 3 mm from the bed at high air discharge

10 International Journal of Civil Engineerng. Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2007


regio ach

T ra n
Aera Initia
regio ion sectio
regio ration
Co m p
in the utational
prese re
nt mo gion
Air Duct

Fig. 8 Flow pattern over an aerator

3.55 cm

17.1 %
3 cm

Assumed initial
concentration p

Fig. 9 Initial condition for simulation of deaeration zone

downstream of the jet impact a total depth of the flow at this section was
computational domain was assumed starting calculated and is shown in Figure 9.
from a section after the impact zone where
pressure in depth was again hydrostatic Longitudinal profiles of air concentration at 3
(Figure 8). Zarrati and Hardwick [17] mm above the bed as calculated by the
measurements showed that immediately after numerical model are compared with
the impact zone, air concentration was experimental data in Figure 10.
constant and equal to 17.1% in a 3cm layer
from the bed. This section was therefore As shown in this figure, decreasing air
selected as the inlet section for the numerical concentration near the bed is very well
model. Knowing flow discharge and velocity predicted by the present model. It can

International Journal of Civil Engineerng. Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2007 11

Com parison betw een experim ental data and num erical m odel

Concentration (%)

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Distance dow nstream (cm )

Num . Presented Study Exp. Zarrati [17]

Fig. 10 Longitudinal profiles of air concentration, 3 mm from the bed, at deaeration zone downstream of an aerator

therefore be concluded that the model can be downstream of an aerator. All results showed
used to simulate distribution and diffusion of the ability of the present model for
air in high speed air water flows. calculation of air distribution in high speed
air-water flows.

7. Summary and Conclusions

8. References
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flow employing aerators. A numerical, quasi of an aerator-aerator spacing, IAHR,
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using step by step method considering the Press, London, UK, 127-130.
amount of air content in the flow. Flow
velocity and turbulent diffusion coefficients [3] Chow, V.T.: 1959, Open Channel
are calculated based on well known Hydraulics, McGraw-Hill Publisher.
equations for open channel flow. The
developed numerical model results were [4] Falvey, H.T.: 1990, Cavitation in Chute
compared with 1- an analytical solution of air and Spillways, Eng. Monograph 42,
continuity equation downstream of an air USBR, Denver, USA.
injecting point, 2- experimental as well as a
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downstream of an injection slot at the invert Ground effects on pressure fluctuations
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of Fluid Mech, Vol. 86, Part 3, 491- Classic Text Book Series, New York.
[13] Versteeg, H.K. and Malalasekera, W.:
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[7] Minor, H.E.: 2000, Cavitation [14] Wood, I. R.: 1985, Air water flows,
preventation on the Alicura and the 21st IAHR Congress, Brisbourne,
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[16] Zarrati, A.R., Hardwick J.D.: 1991,
[9] Nokes, R.I.: 1985, Dispersion of Rising velocity of air bubbles in high
buoyant particles in two-dimensional speed free surface flows, Int.
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IAHR Congress, 200-204. Hydraulics, University of Hong Kong,
Hong Kong.
[10] Peterka, A.J.: 1953, The effect of
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[11] Prusza, V.: 1983, Remedial measures [18] Zarrati, A.R. et al.: 1998, Development
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International Journal of Civil Engineerng. Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2007 13