In this paper, the mechanism of local scour around submarine pipeline is studied numerically based on a Renormalized Group (RNG) turbulence model. To validate the numerical model adopted in this paper, the equilibrium profiles of local scour for two cases are simulated and compared with the experimental data. It shows that the RNG turbulence model can give an appropriate prediction for the configuration of equilibrium scour hole, and it is applicable to this situation. The local scour mechanism around submarine pipeline including the flow structure, shear stress distribution and pressure field is then analyzed and compared with experiments. For the further comparison and validation, especially for the flow structure, a numerical model of Large Eddy Simulation (LES) is also developed in this paper. The numerical results of RNG demonstrate that the critical factor governing the equilibrium profile is the seabed shear stress distribution in the case of bed load sediment transport, and the two-equation RNG turbulence model coupled with the law of wall is capable of giving a satisfying estimation for the bed shear stress. Moreover, the piping phenomena due to the great difference of pressure between the upstream and downstream parts of pipeline and the vortex structure around submarine pipeline are also simulated successfully, which are believed to lead to the onset of local scour.

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