Dam Break Simulation with HEC-RAS and OpenFOAM

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. This is version 1 of this Preprint.


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Darren Jia


A dam break is a natural disaster that can cause significant property damage and loss of life. It's useful to identify potential flooding areas downstream in the event of a dam break. In this study both HEC-RAS and OpenFOAM are set up to simulate the inundation map downstream of the Dworshak dam in Idaho. Using the same topographical data from satellite observations, similar computational meshes are set up in both HEC-RAS and OpenFOAM. Where possible, identical or similar conditions are set up in HEC-RAS and OpenFOAM to model flooding patterns due to a dam break. The velocity of the water before reaching Ahsahka, the town located at the junction downstream from the dam, is 11.5% slower in HEC-RAS compared to OpenFOAM. The average velocity of water before reaching the end of the computational domain at Big Canyon Creek is about 20% slower in HEC-RAS compared to OpenFOAM. One notable discovery is that the water flow velocity in OpenFOAM appears to depend on the mesh resolution used in the simulation. A significant velocity difference is observed when water flows from one mesh refinement region to another mesh refinement region with a different resolution.




Earth Sciences, Hydrology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


dam, break, cfd, openfoam, hecras


Published: 2021-09-22 10:00


CC0 1.0 Universal - Public Domain Dedication

Additional Metadata

Conflict of interest statement:
No conflict of interest

Data Availability (Reason not available):
Available upon request

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