Modelling waving crops using large-eddy simulation: Comparison with experiments and a linear stability analysis

Abstract : In order to investigate the possibility of modelling plant motion at the landscape scale, an equation for crop plant motion, forced by an instantaneous velocity field, is introduced in a large-eddy simulation (LES) airflow model, previously validated over homogeneous and heterogeneous canopies. The canopy is simply represented as a poroelastic continuous medium, which is similar in its discrete form to an infinite row of identical oscillating stems. Only one linear mode of plant vibration is considered. Two-way coupling between plant motion and the wind flow is insured through the drag force term. The coupled model is validated on the basis of a comparison with measured movements of an alfalfa crop canopy. It is also compared with the outputs of a linear stability analysis. The model is shown to reproduce the well-known phenomenon of honami which is typical of wave-like crop motions on windy days. The wavelength of the main coherent waving patches, extracted using a bi-orthogonal decomposition (BOD) of the crop velocity fields, is in agreement with that deduced from video recordings. The main spatial and temporal characteristics of these waving patches exhibit the same variation with mean wind velocity as that observed with the measurements. However they differ from the coherent eddy structures of the wind flow at canopy top, so that coherent waving patches cannot be seen as direct signatures of coherent eddy structures. Finally, it is shown that the impact of crop motion on the wind dynamics is negligible for current wind speed values. No lock-in mechanism of coherent eddy structures on plant motion is observed, in contradiction with the linear stability analysis. This discrepancy may be attributed to the presence of a nonlinear saturation mechanism in LES. © 2010 Cambridge University Press.
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Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2010, 652 (June), pp.5-44. 〈10.1017/s0022112010000686〉
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S. Dupont, F. Gosselin, C. Py, Emmanuel De Langre, Pascal Hemon, et al.. Modelling waving crops using large-eddy simulation: Comparison with experiments and a linear stability analysis. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2010, 652 (June), pp.5-44. 〈10.1017/s0022112010000686〉. 〈hal-01020671〉

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