A partial cell technique for modeling the morphological change and scour

Zhong Peng, Qingping Zou*, Pengzhi Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
80 Downloads (Pure)


A novel partial cell technique applied on structured grids is developed to track the deformation of water-soil interface associated with beach morphological change and toe scour in front of coastal structures. It allows the use of the same orthogonal structured grids for morphological, sediment transport and hydrodynamic models therefore, has the advantage of consuming less CPU and without the need to adapt grids to the evolving beach morphology. An improved sand-slide model with better mass conservation is introduced to resolve the avalanche behaviour of the sediment motion. The RANS-VOF hydrodynamic model has been extended to cope with complex bathymetry. The newly developed numerical model suite, coupling the RANS-VOF model, a bedload sediment transport model and a morphological model using the partial cell technique, are validated against the analytical solutions and laboratory measurements for different incoming wave conditions, local water depths and bottom slopes. This study reveals the key processes that govern the behaviour of beach morphology change in front of a vertical coastal structure during storms. The model-data comparisons demonstrate the robustness of partial cell technique to capture the movement of the water-soil interface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-105
Number of pages18
JournalCoastal Engineering
Early online date10 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Breaking wave
  • Cut cell
  • Morphological model
  • Partial cell
  • RANS
  • Seawall
  • Standing wave
  • Toe scour
  • VOF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering


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