Finite element modelling of local scour below a pipeline under steady currents

Lanhao Zhao, Bowen Guo*, Xin Bai, Wei Zhang, Tongchun Li, J. J.R. Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Local scour has been identified as the main factor that causes failures of structures in offshore engineering. Numerous research efforts have been devoted to local scour around offshore pipelines in the past. In this paper, a finite element numerical model is established for simulating local scour below offshore pipelines in steady currents. The flow is simulated by solving the unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes equations with a standard k − ϵ turbulent model closure. A sand slide scheme is proposed for the scour calculation, and bed load is considered in the proposed scour model. To account for changes in bed level, the moving mesh method is adopted to capture the water–sediment interface (bed), and the change of bed level is calculated by solving Exner–Polya equation. All the equations are discretised within the two-step Taylor–Galerkin algorithm in this paper. It is found that the sand slide model works well for the simulation of the scour, and the numerical results are shown to be in good agreement with the available experimental data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Computational Fluid Dynamics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Pipeline
  • finite element numerical model
  • local scour
  • sediment transport
  • steady current
  • the two-step Taylor–Galerkin algorithm

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