Scour is the removal of riverbed sediment which can be induced due to the presence of channel contraction, hydraulic structures, natural fluctuations in discharge, or changes in sediment supply in a fluvial environment. Scour and erosion have been identified as the primary cause of the majority of bridge failures in North America. Several investigators have concluded that about 50% of all bridge collapses occur due to scour-related complications. The prevalence of scour-induced bridge collapses is indicative of the criticality of scour estimation in the interest of public safety as well as mitigation of infrastructure costs, as this type of collapse often requires significant investment for design and construction of replacement bridges, fault analysis and potential rehabilitation. The available bridge design codes are mostly extracted from estimates of scour at the laboratory scale (experiments in reduced-scale physical models), acquired under highly controlled conditions. Some sources of model inaccuracy include scale effects in physical hydraulic modelling; a lack of understanding of the flow physics of the phenomenon; and the limitations of current computational methods used to model sediment transport. A way to improve the prediction ability of current scour methodologies could be using observed scour values in real rivers to verify/correct such methods, as this proposed research intends to do. The aim of the present project is to study prototype scour data at various field site as well as to use computational tools to assess the efficacy of scour estimation methods for investigating the possible improvements to existing approaches.

Industry Partner(s):Northwest Hydraulics Consultants

Academic Institution:Windsor University

Academic Researcher: Balachandar, Ram

Focus Areas: Clean Tech, Environment & Climate

Platforms: Parallel CPU