Bridge scour is caused by complex flow patterns that develop in the vicinity of structures resting on mobile sediment beds. The example to the right shows the development of a horseshoe vortex at the bottom of a scour hole that surrounds a circular pier.
(in this example, the streamlines are colored by their relative flow speed - red is fast, blue is slow).
Estimating the amount of bridge scour that is expected to occur for a given flood flow condition is of great importance to engineers engaged in the design of bridge pier foundations and other structures that are expected to withstand extreme weather events.
Advances in the computational methods used by CFD Solutions Ltd now make it possible to simulate the dynamic response of discrete sediment beds (sands and gravels) subjected to scouring flows.