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TU Berlin

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High Resolution Simulation of Flow and Transport in Natural and Urban Catchment Areas

Project head
Prof. Dr.-Ing. R. Hinkelmann
Scientific assistant
Dipl.-Ing. F. Simons
Project period
1.4.2009 - 31.3.2014
TU Berlin


The aim of this project is the development of model approaches for the comprehensive description of the watercycle and coupled processes on partially sealed and natural areas. In the first step, the surface runoff will be described with the two-dimensional shallow water equation. High-resolution scenarios should provide information on the amount and the surface of the water retained in and flowing out of the area. These are essential information for the calculation of seepage and evaporation, which play an important role in natural and urban water: The peak flow after heavy rain events will be weakened and, especially in urban areas both processes are essential components in the urban climate. In a process-simulation of surface runoff generation and concentration at least a simple consideration these processes is necessary.

The basis of the model development is the objectoriented software framework HMS which was developed at the department. Build on this, a robust numerical solver for the shallow water equation was developed. Spatial discretization is done by the finite volume method, discretization in time is done with an explicit predictor corrector scheme. Using the HLLC flux approximation and a special treatment of the source and sink terms allows stable computations, even if there are sharp fronts in the model domain, like the occur in wetting/drying cases or at hydraulic jumps.

Interaction of different pocesses in the water cycle at the Heumöser slope

In a second step, the transport of pollutants and suspended matter shall be considered in the model. The quantities of the pollutants in urban areas is particularly interesting when storm water transports pollutants from streets into the sewer system after an extreme event. In large natural areas the transport of suspended matter is important for the management of reservoirs. There are currently no accurate computational models which can provide information on the amount of suspended matter which are transportert in the water after a rain event.

Simulation of real world scenarios shall help to test und verify the model developments. The data of the Heumöser slope which was collected in the DFG-Research Unit "Natural Slope" will be used for computions in natural catchment areas. The basis for the computation in urban areas will be high resolution topography data of small parts of streets and measurements of the small scale water balance which will be collected in another TU project.

Retained water after a rainfall event on an urban surface
Surface runoff from an artificial topography

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