Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for Hydraulic Design of the Panama Canal Third Set of Locks

Angel N. Menéndez, Nicolás D. Badano, Emilio A. Lecertúa, Martín Sabarots Gerbec, Fernando Re, Mariano Re


Within a general modeling framework for the hydraulic design of the filling/emptying system of the Third Set of Locks of Panamá Canal, the application of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), via OpenFOAM (Open Code Field Operation and Manipulation), is presented and discussed. Strategies for mesh generation and adoption of convergence criteria are explained. Validation tests, based on comparisons with experimental data, are described. The new role of CFD, providing the preliminary hydraulic design of special components, to be tested in a physical model, is stressed. The ability of numerical model to explain scale effects in physical models is clearly shown, leading to a new paradigm of extrapolation to prototype from the numerical model. The performance of OpenFOAM, as an efficient and accurate tool for hydraulic design with CFD, is demonstrated.

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