A Strategy for Passive Control of Natural Roll-Waves in Power-Law Fluids through Inlet Boundary Conditions


1 Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Italy

2 Department of Civil Engineering, Design, Building and Environment, University of Campania, Luigi Vanvitelli, Italy


The paper investigates the influence of the inlet boundary condition on the spatial evolution of natural roll-waves in a power-law fluid flowing in steep slope channels. The analysis is carried out numerically, by solving the von Kármán depth-integrated mass and momentum conservation equations, in the long-wave approximation. A second-order accurate scheme is adopted and a small random white-noise is superposed to the discharge at the channel inlet to generate the natural roll-waves train. Both shear-thinning and shear-thickening power-law fluids are investigated, considering uniform, accelerated and decelerated hypercritical profiles as the unperturbed condition. Independently of the unperturbed profile and of the fluid rheology, numerical simulations clearly enlighten the presence of coalescence, coarsening and overtaking processes, as experimentally observed. All the considered statistical parameters indicate that the natural roll-waves spatial evolution is strongly affected by the unperturbed profile. Compared with the uniform condition, at the beginning of roll-waves development an accelerated profile reduces the growth of the roll-waves with a downstream shift of the non-linear wave interaction. The opposite behavior is observed if the roll wave train develops over a decelerated profile. The comparison with the theoretical outcomes of the linearized near wave-front analysis allows the interpretation of this result in terms of stability of the base flow. It is shown that once the coarsening process starts to take place, the roll-waves spatial growth rate is independent of the unperturbed profile. Present results suggest that an appropriate selection of the flow depth at the channel inlet may contribute to control, either enhancing or inhibiting, the formation of a roll-waves train in power-law fluids.