Dam construction continues its rapid expansion around the world primarily for the purpose of hydropower generation. One important consequence of such projects is local scour at the downstream of the dam caused by outflow of excess reservoir water through spillways or bottom outlets that is associated with high velocities. The scour development endangers the dam foundation and river banks and undermines the stability of the hydraulic structures. In this study, a detailed three-dimensional (3D) flow simulation is conducted to investigate the complex fluid–sediment interactions leading to the formation of the scour hole and ridge systems downstream of a near-bottom jet. Three different bed-load equations, including Meyer-Peter–Müller, Nielsen, and Van Rijn formulas, are applied for calculating the bed-load transport rate. Comparison with a series of available experimental data shows that the Meyer-Peter–Müller equation results in better predictions than the two other relations. The performance of different turbulence models to reproduce vertical profiles of velocity and scour characteristic against the experimental data were evaluated. The vertical and horizontal profiles of the scour hole-ridge system are also compared with the corresponding experimental ones. The numerical model satisfactorily reproduces the geometric parameters representing the scour hole. However, the model overestimates the length of the scour hole.

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