IIHR researchers use simulation-based design — a sort of virtual reality, supported by model-scale experiments — to develop efficient new ways to design and test engineering designs and prototypes. This combination of computer simulation and experimental modeling is on the cutting edge of hydraulic research.
Our fully three-dimensional computer simulations run parallel to physical testing in IIHR’s physical modeling facilities to offer our clients high-quality, validated results. Each form of modeling offers strengths and limitations. Together, they can provide our clients with exciting new insights and solutions.
Fully 3-D Computer Simulations
IIHR’s Marcela Politano has developed fully 3-D computer simulations based on FLUENT, with several add-on functions she wrote herself. Researchers can run these computer simulations full-scale, using actual particle sizes and densities. Read more about the Cardinal Project …
A particular strength of IIHR’s computer simulation is its ability to model temperature differences. This can be an important factor in many situations. In the Cardinal Project, for instance, the team noticed a significant recirculation effect in the power plant’s forebay water intakes. By adding a thermal component to the CFD model, this problem became evident and researchers were able to improve their proposed solutions. Read more about the Cardinal Project …
Think Like a Fish
With colleagues at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, IIHR has implemented a computer model that simulates the movement of fish near a hydroelectric dam. The insights the model made possible led to new fish passage designs with flared entrances to make flow accelerations more gradual. Read more about IIHR’s fish passage work …
Recent CFD Projects
- Cardinal Power Plant forebay
- Total dissolved gas for hydropower
- Wells Dam
- McNary Dam
- Hells Canyon Dam
- Wanapum Dam
- Brownlee Dam