Sacrificial Piles as Scour Countermeasures in River Bridges A Numerical Study using FLOW-3D
Scour is defined as the erosive action of flowing water, as well as the excavating and carrying away materials from beds and banks of streams, and from the vicinity of bridge foundations, which is one of the main causes of river bridge failures. In the present study, implementing a numerical approach, and using the FLOW-3D model that works based on the finite volume method (FVM), the applicability of using sacrificial piles in different configurations in front of a bridge pier as countermeasures against scouring is investigated. In this regard, the numerical model was calibrated based on an experimental study on scouring around an unprotected circular river bridge pier. In simulations, the bridge pier and sacrificial piles were circular, and the riverbed was sandy. In all scenarios, the flow rate was constant and equal to 45 L/s. Furthermore, one to five sacrificial piles were placed in front of the pier in different locations for each scenario. Implementation of the sacrificial piles proved to be effective in substantially reducing the scour depths. The results showed that although scouring occurred in the entire area around the pier, the maximum and minimum scour depths were observed on the sides (using three sacrificial piles located upstream, at three and five times the pier diameter) and in the back (using five sacrificial piles located upstream, at four, six, and eight times the pier diameter) of the pier. Moreover, among scenarios where single piles were installed in front of the pier, installing them at a distance of five times the pier diameter was more effective in reducing scour depths. For other scenarios, in which three piles and five piles were installed, distances of six and four times the pier diameter for the three piles scenario, and four, six, and eight times the pier diameter for the five piles scenario were most effective.
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