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Durham University

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Publication details

Konopliv, N. A., Llewellyn-Smith, S. G., McElwaine, J. N. & Meiburg, E. (2016). Modelling gravity currents without an energy closure. Journal of Fluid Mechanics 789: 806-829.

Author(s) from Durham


We extend the vorticity-based modelling approach of Borden & Meiburg (Phys. Fluids, vol. 25 (10), 2013, 101301) to non-Boussinesq gravity currents and derive an analytical expression for the Froude number without the need for an energy closure or any assumptions about the pressure. The Froude-number expression we obtain reduces to the correct form in the Boussinesq limit and agrees closely with simulation data. Via detailed comparisons with simulation results, we furthermore assess the validity of three key assumptions underlying both our as well as earlier models: (i) steady-state flow in the moving reference frame; (ii) inviscid flow; and (iii) horizontal flow sufficiently far in front of and behind the current. The current approach does not require an assumption of zero velocity in the current.