Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Remo, Jonathan

Second Advisor

Wilkerson, Gregory

Abstract

A chevron is a U-shaped rock structure constructed for improving navigation conditions by diverting majority of flow towards main channel. The objective of this study is to improve understanding of how chevrons affect channel flow. For this study, a two-dimensional numerical hydrodynamic model of a two-km-long reach of the Mississippi River was developed; three chevrons have been constructed in the modeled reach. The model was calibrated by adjusting Manning's n to match predicted and observed water surface elevations (WSELs). The model was validated using measured WSEL and velocity data from two events: a low-flow discharge (4,500 m3/s) and high-flow discharge (14,000 m3/s). At reach scale the model performed well in predicting WSELs. Average difference between model prediction and observed WSEL was 0.23 m in low-flow condition and 0.05 in high flow condition. Root mean square of errors (RMSEs) and mean absolute errors (MAEs) were used to measure the degree of agreement between predicted and measured velocities. At the reach scale there was reasonable agreement between predicted and observed velocities (RMSE = 0.416 m/s and 0.425 m/s, respectively, for low-flow and high-flow conditions). Local differences between predicted and observed velocities were up to 1.5 m/s; this is attributed to uncertainties in the velocity measurements. The model's sensitivity of to changes in Manning's n, eddy viscosity and bathymetry were also analyzed. The sensitivity analysis showed that there are specific areas (e.g., near the banks of the river) which are sensitive to changes in Manning's n. This indicates that spatial distribution of Manning's n is required to increase the accuracy in the model's predictions of velocity. Model was found to be stable in a specific range of eddy viscosity values. Eddy viscosity had little effect on velocity predictions but was important for model stability (i.e., the model was stable only for a range of eddy viscosity values). Reach scale changes in bathymetry had minor impacts on RMSE and MAE. However, local changes in channel bathymetry resulted in differences in velocity predictions as much as ±0.4 m/s.

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