Software Tools for the Changing Environment

The Calibration Comparison and Analysis of CFD Models

  • Alexander Mann (MEDOT)


Numerous Hydraulic tests have been conducted over the last Century to solve particular problems or develop general relationships. CFD offers a unique opportunity to combine and adapt this information into new revised configurations. Physical model results of individual culvert sections or configurations can be used to validate the CFD results of similar configurations. These sections can be combined into CFD composite models that are more robust.

The Bureau of Public Roads through the University of Iowa conducted numerous tests on culverts, and inlet and outlet geometries. Some of these results were summarized and published in a book called “The Flow of Water Through Culverts” in 1926. The data they presented regarding outlet diffusers effect on increasing culvert capacity provides an excellent test case. Utilizing this data to compare Performance Curves, Hydraulic and Energy Grade Lines, is an effective way to validate the CFD model. Other new insights can be gained from the CFD images and available CFD model data. Using CFD flow line Pressure, Velocity and Location values to create Hydraulic and Energy Grade Lines has proved to be straight forward and an effective. By comparing physical hydraulic test data with the CFD model data the advantages of each method can be utilized to produce a model that is both adaptable and available for particular design problems.

How to Cite:

Mann, A., (2014) “The Calibration Comparison and Analysis of CFD Models”, National Hydraulic Engineering Conference 2014 1(2014).

Rights: Copyright © 2014 the presenters

Publisher Notes

  • Panel moderated by Dan Ghere, FHWA.
  • About the Presenters: Alex graduated from Penn State with a BS in Geosciences in 1983. He was employed as a field geophysicist for the Maine Geological Survey, then for Weston Geophysics, and finally for the Maine DOT. In 1995, he transitioned from Geophysics into Surface Water Hydrology within the DOT. Alex worked in collaboration with the USGS to produce papers on: Evaluation of the Effects of Development on Peak-Flow Hydrographs for Collyer Brook, Maine, 2001 Comparison of Peak-Flow Estimation Methods for Small Drainage Basins in Maine, 2007 Alex has had a long term interest in hydraulics. During his childhood he built dams at every opportunity, a practice he continues to this day with his son. While doing geologic field work in Iceland, he was introduced to Micro-hydropower, and to the concept of using flared outlet diffusers to recover energy. Intrigued by this concept, he created an independent study course at the University of Maine with Dr Bryan Pearce to study the effects of diffusers on pipe capacity using CFD (Star-ccm+) at the FHWA sponsored TRACC Computer at Argonne National Lab. He has continued this work by comparing Yarnell’s physical models with CFD models.



Published on
22 Aug 2014
Peer Reviewed