Numerical simulation of the inception of channel meandering

Jennifer G. Duan, Pierre Y. Julien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The inception of channel meandering is the result of the complex interaction between flow, bed sediment, and bank material. A depth-averaged two-dimensional hydrodynamic model is developed to simulate the inception and development of channel meandering processes. the sediment transport model calculates both bedload and suspended load assuming equilibrium sediment transport. Bank erosion consists of two interactive processes: basal erosion and bank failure. Basal erosion is calculated from a newly derived equation for the entrainment of sediment particles by hydrodynamic forces. The mass conservation equation, where basal erosion and bank failure are considered source terms, was solved to obtain the rate of bank erosion. The parallel bank failure model was tested with the laboratory experiments of Friedkin on the initiation and evolution processes of non-cohesive meandering channels. The model replicates the downstream translation and lateral extension of meandering loops reasonably well. Plots of meandering planforms illustrate the evolution of sand bars and redistribution of flow momentum in meandering channels. This numerical modelling study demonstrates the potential of depth-integrated two-dimensional models for the simulation of meandering processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1110
Number of pages18
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Bank erosion
  • Meandering channel
  • Numerical model
  • Sediment transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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