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Non-classical shallow water flows

  1. J. R. Ockendon
  1. Oxford Centre for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, 24–29 St Giles', Oxford OX1 3LB, UK
  1. Corresponding author. Email: ock{at}
  • Received November 24, 2006.
  • Accepted January 24, 2007.


This paper deals with violent discontinuities in shallow water flows with large Froude number F. On a horizontal base, the paradigm problem is that of the impact of two fluid layers in situations where the flow can be modelled as two smooth regions joined by a singularity in the flow field. Within the framework of shallow water theory, we show that, over a certain time-scale, this discontinuity may be described by a delta shock, which is a weak solution of the underlying conservation laws in which the depth and mass and momentum fluxes have both delta function and step function components. We also make some conjectures about how this model evolves from the traditional model for jet impacts in which a spout is emitted. For flows on a sloping base, we show that for flow with an aspect ratio of O(F−2) on a base with an O(1) or larger slope, the governing equations admit a new type of discontinuous solution that is also modelled as a delta shock. The physical manifestation of this discontinuity is a small ‘tube’ of fluid bounding the flow. The delta-shock conditions for this flow are derived and solved for a point source on an inclined plane. This latter delta-shock framework also sheds light on the evolution of the layer impact on a horizontal base

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    1. IMA J Appl Math 73 (1): 137-157. doi: 10.1093/imamat/hxm064
    1. All Versions of this Article:
      1. hxm064v1
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