Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Argentina

Hydraulic and Structural Engineering of the San Martin Channel

By Ing Dante G. Bragoni, Faculty of Engineering

The province of Mendoza is located near the Andes Mountains. Being a desert region with an average 220 ml of rainfall a year, water is a fundamental and precious resource. Efficient use of water in this region is a major issue. The San Martin Channel is the principal water supply to the east part of Mendoza. To optimize the water management and improve the operation of the First and Second Tract of the San Martin Channel, CFD modeling using the ANSYS Academic CFD product (ANSYS CFX) was carried out in addition to physical modeling to understand the channels hydraulic behavior.

Due to the particular landscape of the region under consideration, supercritical flow conditions take place in the channel as a consequence of high velocities. This problem has a direct influence on the partition structures design to work under subcritical flow conditions. As a result, the channel water level fluctuates and the flow distribution no longer remains proportional to the cross section. The main objective of the project was to develop a proper hydraulic design that improves the actual working conditions of the partition section.

Mathematic simulations with the ANSYS Academic CFD product were very important to find answers to the hydraulic behavior of the structures under analysis. Simulations are carried out to study the actual structure and the possible design solutions. Without numerical simulation, the design time would be longer and the costs of the research would be higher. Use of ANSYS CFX also provides a more agile design process, allowing researchers to test many different solution proposals in considerably short periods of time.