Physical First: How Combined Mesoscale Physical Modeling and Two-dimensional Computational Modeling Informed Kansas City’s Insight into Indian Creek Flooding

Donald W. Baker, PE, DWRE

Has the flash and sexiness of today's computational hydraulic and hydrologic modeling led us away from the necessary understanding of hydrodynamic process that can only be gained by running water through an "old-fashioned" physical model? Don Baker details a City of Kansas City project sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that constructed a 70-foot by 25-foot fixed-bed, distorted-scale physical model of a flood-prone reach of Indian Creek, and then used the model to prove the validity of a “Physical First” approach—one that analyzes complex flow problems using a physical model followed by multi-dimensional numeric modeling.

Learning Objectives: 

  • As the result of taking this course/class the learner should be able to identify opportunities to apply a Physical First approach in order to validate two- and three-dimensional computational hydraulic and hydrologic models using mesoscale physical models.
  • As the result of taking this course/class the learner should be able to predict at concept level some potential design cost savings, within ranges, by refining opportunities to apply mesoscale physical modeling to validate computational models.
  • As the result of taking this course/class the learner should be able to visualize some potential applications of mesoscale physical modeling to design solutions intended to solve stream erosion problems, and be able to compare and contrast some of the advantages and disadvantages of a Physical First approach.

Presented by Donald W. Baker, PE, DWRE – Owner and Principal, WATER RESOURCES SOLUTIONS

Since his childhood in southeastern Colorado when his mom was constantly yelling at him to quit wasting water and turn off the garden hose, Don Baker has been fascinated by the hows and whys of water flows and river patterns. A registered water-resources engineer in 11 states, adjunct professor of engineering at University of Missouri at Kansas City, and holder of the prestigious Diplomate, Water Resource Engineering, from the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, Baker is principal and owner of Water Resources Solutions. He and the WRS team have built a dozen similar physical models.