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A Predictor of Turbulent Kinetic Energy for Oscillatory Flows Through Submerged Aquatic Vegetation
  • Jorge Emilio San Juan,
  • Rafael O Tinoco
Jorge Emilio San Juan
University of Minnesota

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Rafael O Tinoco
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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Aquatic vegetation modifies hydrodynamics, turbulence structure, sediment transport, and ecological processes in marine ecosystems. Recent turbulence models for vegetated flows have focused on open channel unidirectional flows. However, the unsteadiness and turbulent structure of oscillatory flows often prevent the direct application of such models in wave-dominated environments. We investigate Turbulent Kinetic Energy (TKE) connected to the flow structure in oscillatory flows through aquatic vegetation. Using an oscillatory tunnel, we test vegetation densities up to $\phi=0.10$ with wave periods between 2.1-5.3 s and wave amplitudes between 2-10 cm. Our measurements show a nonlinear relation between the TKE inside the canopy and vegetation density due to the change from the stem- to canopy-scale dominated regime. We observe that $ah\geq 0.8$ marks a threshold for this transition: a reduction of wake TKE inside the canopy and an increase of shear TKE at the top of the canopy. This transition is characterized by increasing frequency and intensity of sweeps and ejections near the bed and at the canopy top. We developed a two-equation predictor for TKE at the top of the canopy using the “short-cut” TKE transfer first proposed by \citeA{finnigan2000turbulence} where canopy-scale eddies convert TKE into stem-scale eddies via the work against vegetation drag. For near-bed TKE, we adapt \citeA{tanino2008lateral}’s model to predict the maximum TKE values on oscillatory flows. These two predictors provide easy-to-use tools suitable for wave-dominated environments to accurately estimate TKE levels inside the canopy for estimating sediment transport rates and mass exchange across the canopy.