Physical and numerical modeling of flows in hydraulic structures

Thematic Area
Water, energy and Food
Application Areas
Water Resources
Case Study – flow velocity magnitudes streams in the plunge pool
Case Study – jets velocity magnitudes
Case Study – streams in the plunge pool
Jet and plunge pool velocity magnitudes and velocity streamlines in plunge pool
General view of physical and 3D numerical model for one spillway 100% open (left) and two spillways 100% open (right)



This area of research involves:

  • Case studies of hydraulic works considering a combined use of physical and numerical models – applied research. 
  • Lined plunge pools – Experimental and numerical analysis of plunge pool spillways with emphasis on floor slabs stability – Ph.D. research being developed.

High velocity water jets - combined CFD and experimental approaches to characterize the scouring process - Ph.D. research just initiated


  • To improve the capability of simulating complex flows considering the traditional physical modeling and the high potential of the numerical methods.


    • Reduce the timings involved to develop real case studies, as well as decrease the costs of physical modelling.
    • Improve the understanding:
      • of the high jet diffusion process in plunge pools, as well as the mechanisms leading to concrete lining uplift and failures, by means of laboratorial experiments and numerical modeling;
      • regarding the high velocity jet scouring process by coupling experimental procedures and numerical simulations.

Next challenges

Several case studies were recently implemented with results from scale model tests complemented with those from CFD models. However calibration and validation of CFD models are an open issue, long computation times and convergence difficulties being common.

Modeling of jet diffusion, lining stability or jet rock scouring development still require experimental characterization for better understanding of the involved phenomena and support numerical simulations improvements.