Modelling water flow at Sarpfossen dam

The Sarpfossen dam provides water for two hydropower plants at the town of Sarpsborg in Southern Norway. The dam is located at the end of the river Glomma, which is the largest in Norway. A physical model study was conducted in Trondheim to assess the hydraulic conditions for the maximum probable flood. The physical model study provided an opportunity to collect data for testing numerical models with free surface flow.

Computed velocity field in the reservoir by STAR-CCM+. Water is flowing in at the upper right corner and out at the lower left side, where the orange colour is. (figure: Robert Feurich)

Measuring the velocity field in the reservoir using an ADV (photo: N. Olsen)

Picture of the flow field over the dam (photo: N. Olsen)

As seen on the picture above, one of the main problems for the assessment of the discharge capacity of the dam is that the flow upstream of the dam is partly supercritical, with oblique hydraulic jumps forming. A goal of the study is to see how well the numerical model can replicate this complex water surface.

3D view of the computed water surface profile upstream of the dam. The colours show the water surface elevation. (figure: Robert Feurich)


Feurich, R., Kettner, F. and Olsen, N. R. B. (2011) "Three-Dimensional Numerical Investigation of Spillway and Reservoir Hydraulics", 34th IAHR Congress, Brisbane, Australia.

Feurich, R. and Olsen, N. R. B. (2012), Finding the Free Surface of Supercritical Flows - a Numerical Investigation (OpenAccess), Engineering Applications of Computational Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp 307-315.

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This page was last updated: 25. March 2015