In search of improving the numerical accuracy of the k-e(open) model by a transformation to the k-τ model

Yoeri M. Dijkstra, Rob E. Uittenbogaard, Jan A.Th M. van Kester, Julie D. Pietrzak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This study presents a detailed comparison between the k-. e(open) and k-. τ turbulence models. It is demonstrated that the numerical accuracy of the k-. e(open) turbulence model can be improved in geophysical and environmental high Reynolds number boundary layer flows. This is achieved by transforming the k-. e(open) model to the k-. τ model, so that both models use the same physical parametrisation. The models therefore only differ in numerical aspects. A comparison between the two models is carried out using four idealised one-dimensional vertical (1DV) test cases. The advantage of a 1DV model is that it is feasible to carry out convergence tests with grids containing 5 to several thousands of vertical layers. It is shown hat the k-. τ model is more accurate than the k-. e(open) model in stratified and non-stratified boundary layer flows for grid resolutions between 10 and 100 layers. The k-. τ model also shows a more monotonous convergence behaviour than the k-. e(open) model. The price for the improved accuracy is about 20% more computational time for the k-. τ model, which is due to additional terms in the model equations. The improved performance of the k-. τ model is explained by the linearity of τ in the boundary layer and the better defined boundary condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages14
JournalOcean Modelling
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Boundary layers
  • K-e(open) model
  • K-τ model
  • Numerical accuracy
  • Turbulence modelling

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