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eNews January 2022

NMSU PhD Student Receives Student Water Research Grant to Study Sediment Transport Management in New Mexico’s Water Systems

NMSU PhD Student Receives Student Water Research Grant to Study Sediment Transport Management in New Mexico’s Water Systems

By Marcus Gay, NM WRRI Sr. Student Program Coordinator

In New Mexico, sediment and sedimentation in water supply systems can cause problems. Nutrient imbalance, soil erosion, wetland degradation, and reduced reliability of water supplies and conveyance systems are some of the issues that sedimentation can cause or exacerbate. Sediment can be removed from open channels through dredging, but this process typically has an annual cost of $8-$12 per cubic meter.* Research has shown that promoting velocity and turbulence near the bed of open channels can decrease sediment from forming deposits and increase the particle transportation rate.** However, there is a knowledge gap regarding implementing an internally turbulence-inducing element in an open channel design and its effects on flow characteristics, particle motion, and transport rate.

To address this knowledge gap, NM WRRI has awarded a Student Water Research Grant to Saman Mostafazadeh-Fard. Mostafazadeh-Fard, a PhD candidate at New Mexico State University’s Department of Civil Engineering, is working on a project titled, Sediment Transport Management in New Mexico’s Water Systems Using CFD Platform Flow 3-D Code. Under the guidance of his faculty advisor, Dr. Zohrab Samani, the project aims to use an experimentally validated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) platform Flow-3D model to develop a framework for designing a turbulence-inducing open channel that can promote particle transportation rate and reduce the risk of sediment deposition in New Mexico’s water supply systems.

In order to use the proposed CFD platform Flow-3D model to design a turbulence-inducing open channel, the model needs to be validated. Various bed designs are proposed and created in the CFD platform, and their performance is evaluated and compared using parameters such as particle transport rate, near-bed region turbulent intensity, turbulent kinetic energy, and dissipation.  Cross-sectional velocity profiles, turbulent intensity in the sublayer, total hydraulic head values, and flow depth will be extracted and compared for control and turbulence-inducing designs. The particle transportation rate in simulated flows for control and turbulence-inducing designs will be extracted and compared. The goal is to maximize turbulence intensity in the sublayer, maximize particle transportation rate, and minimize head loss in the turbulence-inducing design compared to the control design.

Preliminary results have shown that the proposed method results in an increase of 5 percent in turbulence intensity in the sublayer. According to Mostafazadeh-Fard, the benefits of this project include the advancement of CFD technology for the design of water conveyance systems, including open channels in both academic and industrial environments in New Mexico. This research aims to enable civil engineers to adapt the CFD technology to improve their future water conveyance system designs, resulting in improved water quality and distribution for the citizens of New Mexico.

Mostafazadeh-Fard plans to graduate with a PhD in Civil Engineering in Fall 2022. Originally from Iran, Mostafazadeh-Fard would like to be hired in an academic role in Iran or a European country after graduation. In Mostafazadeh-Fard’s words, “I would like to have a part-time industry job along with my academic job that is related to my PhD research so that I can translate my research into a real-world product or solution.”

* D.L. Brandon, R.A. Price. 2007. Summary of Available Guidance and Best Practices for Determining Suitability of Dredged Material for Beneficial Uses. Vicksburg, Mississippi: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Dredging Operations and Environmental Research Program, ERDC/EL.

** D. Butler., R. May., and J. Ackers. 2003. Self-cleansing sewer design based on sediment transport principles. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering ASCE. 129(4), 276-282. AND B.M., Sumer, L.H.C., Chua., N.S. N.S. Cheng., and J. Fredsøe. 2003. The influence of turbulence on bedload sediment transport. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering ASCE.  129(8), 585–596.