Numerical Simulation of Sediment Transport in Unsteady Open Channel Flow

Jennifer G. Duan, Chunshui Yu, Yan Ding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper presented a two-dimensional, well-balanced hydrodynamic and sediment transport model based on the solutions of variable-density shallow-water equations (VDSWEs) and the Exner equation for bed change for simulating sediment transport in unsteady flows. Those equations are solved in a coupled way by the first-order Godunov-type finite volume method. The Harten–Lax–van Leer–Contact (HLLC) Riemann solver is extended to find the local Riemann fluxes to maintain the exact balance between the momentum term and the bed slope term. A well-balanced scheme is superior to an unbalanced scheme to minimize numerical dispersion as demonstrated by the synthetic standing contact-discontinuity test case. Following this, the model is employed to simulate two laboratory experiments and a field case, the 1996 Lake Ha! Ha! flood event in Canada. The results of water surface elevations and bed surface profiles agree well with the measurements. The accuracy and robustness of the numerical schemes make the model a good candidate for practical engineering applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2576
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Godunov-type finite volume method
  • HLLC Riemann solver
  • dam-break flow
  • nonequilibrium sediment transport model
  • variable density shallow water equations
  • well-balanced property

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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