Characteristic Based Split Finite Element for Unsteady Dam-Break Problem

Document Type: Research Paper


Water Engineering Department, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran


In this paper, an efficient numerical model for solution of the two-dimensional unsteady dam-break problem is described. The model solves the shallow water equations through Characteristic-Based Split (CBS) finite element method. The formulation of the model is based upon the fractional time step technique primarily used in the finite difference method for the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations. In addition to well-known advantages of the finite element discretization in introducing complex geometries and making accurate results near the boundaries, the CBS utilizes interesting advantages. These include the ability of the method to simulate both compressible and incompressible flows using the same formulation. Improved stability of the CBS algorithm along with its capability to simulate both sub- and super-critical flows are other main advantages of the method. These useful advantages of the algorithm introduce the CBS as a unique procedure to solve fluid dynamics problems under various conditions. Since dam-break problem has principally a high non-linear nature, the model is verified firstly by modeling one-dimensional problems of dam-break and bore formation problems. Furthermore, application of the model to a two-dimensional hypothetical dam-break problem shows the robustness and efficiency of the procedure. Despite the high non-linearity nature of the solved problems, the computational results, compared with the analytical solutions and reported results of other numerical models, indicate the favorable performance of the used procedure in modeling the dam-break problems.


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