An accurate numerical solution to the Saint-Venant-Hirano model for mixed-sediment morphodynamics in rivers

Guglielmo Stecca, Annunziato Siviglia, Astrid Blom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
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We present an accurate numerical approximation to the Saint-Venant-Hirano model for mixed-sediment morphodynamics in one space dimension. Our solution procedure originates from the fully-unsteady matrix-vector formulation developed in [54]. The principal part of the problem is solved by an explicit Finite Volume upwind method of the path-conservative type, by which all the variables are updated simultaneously in a coupled fashion. The solution to the principal part is embedded into a splitting procedure for the treatment of frictional source terms. The numerical scheme is extended to second-order accuracy and includes a bookkeeping procedure for handling the evolution of size stratification in the substrate. We develop a concept of balancedness for the vertical mass flux between the substrate and active layer under bed degradation, which prevents the occurrence of non-physical oscillations in the grainsize distribution of the substrate. We suitably modify the numerical scheme to respect this principle. We finally verify the accuracy in our solution to the equations, and its ability to reproduce one-dimensional morphodynamics due to streamwise and vertical sorting, using three test cases. In detail, (i) we empirically assess the balancedness of vertical mass fluxes under degradation; (ii) we study the convergence to the analytical linearised solution for the propagation of infinitesimal-amplitude waves [54], which is here employed for the first time to assess a mixed-sediment model; (iii) we reproduce Ribberink's E8-E9 flume experiment [46].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-61
Number of pages23
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Issue numberPart A
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Active layer
  • Mixed sediment
  • Non-conservative hyperbolic systems
  • Numerical morphodynamics
  • Path-conservative method
  • Upwind methods

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