Computational Fluid Dynamics in Hydraulic Engineering

Our department has been using and developing CFD models for hydraulic and sedimentation engineering since 1990. Initial work was focused on sediment problems with regards to hydropower intakes, primarily due to the difficulties of modelling fine sediment in physical models. Since then the scope of our CFD research has expanded to other hydraulic and environmental topics.

More information: [People] [Projects] [Publications] [Computer Programs] [Links]

The picture above shows the results from modelling a braided laboratory channel.


Dr. Nils Reidar B. Olsen

Dr. Elena Pummer
Associate Professor

Doctoral students

Halvor Kjrs
Modelling fish habitat in rivers with OpenFOAM

Subhojit Kadia
Modelling sediment flow with OpenFOAM

External cooperating researchers

Prof. Jochen Aberle, Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany
Energy losses in rock-blasted tunnels

Dr. Catherine Wilson, Cardiff University, UK
Modelling scour under leaky barriers

Prof. Thorsten Stsser, University College London, UK
Studies of RANS vs LES in hydraulics

Dr. Helmut Knoblauch, University of Graz, Austria
Modelling sediments in reservoirs

Dr. Stefan Vollmer, Bundesanstalt fr Gewasserkunde, Germany
Modelling sediment maintainence in rivers

Dr. Katinka Koll, The Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany
Modelling scour around trees in rivers

Dr. Gudrun Hillebrand, Bundesanstalt fr Gewasserkunde, Germany
Modelling sediments in reservoirs and plastic particles in rivers.

Dr. Stefan Haun, University of Stuttgart, Germany
Modelling reservoir flushing.

Dr. Peggy Zinke, Sciencemonastry AS, Norway
Modelling water and sediment flow in the delta of Lake yern

Dr. Sandor Baranya, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary
Modelling sediment transport and erosion in rivers.

Dr. Gabriele Harb, Verbund hydropower company, Austria
Modelling sediments in reservoirs

Dr. Kari Brtveit, Hydro Energy
Modelling water flow in sand traps

Dr. Irina Klassen, Bundesanstalt fr Wasserbau, Germany
Modelling sediments in rivers and reservoirs.

Dr. Francisco Nez-Gonzlez, Universitat Polytecnica de Catalunya, Spain
Modelling antidunes

Dr. Clemens Dorfmann, Flow engineering, Austria
Modelling sediments in reservoirs

Oscar Jimenez, DLZ, Costa Rica
Modelling sediment flow in reservoirs

Laura Lizano, Instituto Costarricence de Electricidad, Costa Rica
Modelling sediment flow in reservoirs

Pravin Aryal, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Nepal
Modelling water flow in sand traps

The picture above shows a longitudinal profile of sediment deposition with antidunes. The grey area is the water, showing turbulent kinetic energy with the greyscale. The coloured area is the average sediment diameter of the bed.

Computer Programs

Most of our CFD work has been carried out using the SSIIM program. The program is based on the solution of the Navier-Stokes equations on a non-orthogonal 2D or 3D grid. Both structured and unstructured grid versions are used. The SIMPLE method is used for computing the pressure and the the k-epsilon model is used to calculate turbulence. The sediment transport is calculated by solving the convection-diffusion equation for sediment concentration. Changes in bed elevation over time are computed, and algorithms for wetting and drying enables the prediction of lateral channel movements.

More information and download instructions for SSIIM

We have also made a sediment solver for OpenFOAM.

More information and download instructions for sediDriftFoam


Listings of publications

On-line books

We have made some CFD books publically available on the PDF format. A short description and download links are given below.

CFD class notes (593 kB)

User's manual for SSIIM (3.5 MB PDF)

Numerical modelling and hydraulics (1.7 MB)

CFD Algorithms for Hydraulic Engineering (678 kB)

CFD for Hydraulic Structures (535 kB)


Several examples from our research are listed below. The date indicate the latest update of the page.

Sediment transport

General hydraulics

Water quality

Habitat hydraulics

This page is made by

Nils Reidar B. Olsen

* Department of Civil and Env. Engineering
Updated: 2. June 2023
Copyright © 2000-2023, Department of Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering, NTNU