Well-balanced numerical modelling of non-uniform sediment transport in alluvial rivers

Honglu Qian, Zhixian Cao*, Gareth Pender, Huaihan Liu, Peng Hu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
149 Downloads (Pure)


The last two decades have witnessed the development and application of well-balanced numerical models for shallow flows in natural rivers. However, until now there have been no such models for flows with non-uniform sediment transport. This paper presents a 1D well-balanced model to simulate flows and non-capacity transport of non-uniform sediment in alluvial rivers. The active layer formulation is adopted to resolve the change of bed sediment composition. In the framework of the finite volume Slope LImiter Centred (SLIC) scheme, a surface gradient method is incorporated to attain well-balanced solutions to the governing equations. The proposed model is tested against typical cases with irregular topography, including the refilling of dredged trenches, aggradation due to sediment overloading and flood flow due to landslide dam failure. The agreement between the computed results and measured data is encouraging. Compared to a non-well-balanced model, the well-balanced model features improved performance in reproducing stage, velocity and bed deformation. It should find general applications for non-uniform sediment transport modelling in alluvial rivers, especially in mountain areas where the bed topography is mostly irregular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117–130
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Sediment Research
Issue number2
Early online date9 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • Irregular topography
  • Mathematical river modelling
  • Non-uniform sediment transport
  • Shallow flow
  • Well-balanced scheme

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Stratigraphy
  • Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Well-balanced numerical modelling of non-uniform sediment transport in alluvial rivers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this