## Abstract

In this article, we report on theoretical and numerical studies of models for suddenly initiated variable inflow gravity currents in rectangular geometry. These gravity currents enter a lighter, deep ambient fluid at rest at a time-dependent rate from behind a partially opened lock gate and their subsequent dynamics is modeled in the buoyancy-inertia regime using 1 1/2-layer shallow water theory. The resistance to flow that is exerted by the ambient fluid on the gravity current is accounted for by a front condition which involves a non-dimensional parameter that can be chosen in accordance with experimental observations. Flow filament theory is used to arrive at expressions for the variable inflow velocity under the assumptions of an inviscid and incompressible fluid moving through an opening of fixed area which is suddenly opened under a lock gate at one end of a large rectangular tank. The fluid in the lock is subjected to a (possibly) time varying pressure applied uniformly over its surface and the finite movement of the free surface is accounted for. Finding this time-dependent inflow velocity, which will then serve as a boundary condition for the solution of the shallow-water equations, involves solving forced non-linear ordinary differential equations and the form of this velocity equation and its attendant solutions will, in general, rule out finding self-similar solutions for the shallow-water equations. The existence of self-similar solutions requires that the gravity currents have volumes proportional to, where and t is the time elapsed from initiation of the flow. This condition requires a point source of fluid with very special properties for which both the area of the gap and the inflow velocity must vary in a related and prescribed time-dependent manner in order to preserve self-similarity. These specialized self-similar solutions are employed here as a check on our numerical approach. In the more natural cases that are treated here in which fluids flow through an opening of fixed dimensions in a container an extra dimensional parameter is introduced thereby ruling out self-similarity of the solutions for the shallow-water equations so that the previous analytical approaches to the variable inflow problem, involving the use of phase-plane analysis, will be inapplicable. The models developed and analyzed here are expected to provide a first step in the study of situations in which a storage container is suddenly ruptured allowing a heavy fluid to debouch at a variable rate through a fixed opening over level terrain. They also can be adapted to the study of other situations where variable inflow gravity currents arise such as, for example, flows of fresh water from spring run-off into lakes and fjords, flows from volcanoes and magma chambers, discharges from locks and flash floods.

Original language | English |
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Pages (from-to) | 127-171 |

Number of pages | 45 |

Journal | Studies in Applied Mathematics |

Volume | 119 |

Issue number | 2 |

DOIs | |

Publication status | Published - Aug 2007 |

Externally published | Yes |