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Shannon Leakey

Improving the understanding of leaky barriers.

Project title

Hydrodynamic modelling of leaky barriers in channels


Project description

Leaky barriers are small, nature-inspired dams. They slow down flows by creating temporary storage in the channel and encouraging water onto the floodplain. Hundreds of leaky barriers have been installed in river catchments across the UK. But despite their popularity, they are poorly understood.

This project will use the computational fluid dynamics code OpenFOAM to explore different barrier designs in detail.

OpenFOAM has solvers that can deal with mixtures of water and air. As the code is open source, there is also the flexibility to modify solvers or add alternatives, which may form a large part of the project.

Validated with data from the hydraulic flume, the results will show the effects of leaky barriers on different flows. Simpler hydraulic models can incorporate this knowledge, simulating how collections of barriers work across larger scales.