How wind direction and building spacing influences airflow patterns and sediment transport patterns around a row of beach buildings: A numerical study

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Abstract

Buildings at the beach change the near-bed airflow patterns in the surrounding area. This induces alterations in wind-induced bed shear stress and wind-induced sediment transport which, in turn, affect the bed topography in the vicinity of buildings. Three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics simulations using OpenFOAM have been performed to understand how and to what extent the buildings at the beach influence the sediment transport from the beach to the dunes. Herein, we explicitly account for the positioning of the buildings with respect to each other and the dominant wind direction. Also discussed are the airflow mechanisms that are responsible for sediment transport, and how they alter due to systematic changes in the gap spacing between buildings and the wind incidence angle. Simulations were performed, in which we model flow and initial sediment transport around a repeating row of ten parallel full-scale beach buildings when the gap spacings and wind incidence angles were systematically varied. The horizontal near-bed streamline patterns showed that there is a critical gap spacing, below which the neighboring buildings significantly affect each other. Furthermore, the airflow in the near-wake region behind the row of buildings is quite complex. The shape and the extent to which the sand drifts develop behind the gaps between buildings are largely influenced by the wind direction, relative to the buildings. We also computed the average sediment transport flux along different lines downstream of the buildings. Our findings showed that, depending on the buildings’ positioning at the beach, they could have negative effects on dune growth by obstructing the sediment particles from moving downstream, or they could have positive effects on dune growth by steering the airflow and supplying more sediment downstream.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100867
Pages (from-to)100867
JournalAeolian research
Volume61
Early online date7 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D

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