Faculté des Sciences appliquées
Faculté des Sciences appliquées

Hydrodynamic characterisation of a body-like shape: a contribution to guide the search for victims of drowning in rivers

Delhez, Clément ULiège
Promotor(s) : Dewals, Benjamin ULiège ; Erpicum, Sébastien ULiège
Date of defense : 24-Jun-2021/25-Jun-2021 • Permalink :
Title : Hydrodynamic characterisation of a body-like shape: a contribution to guide the search for victims of drowning in rivers
Translated title : [fr] Caractérisation hydrodynamique d'un corps de forme humaine : une contribution pour guider la recherche de victimes de noyade en rivières
Author : Delhez, Clément ULiège
Date of defense  : 24-Jun-2021/25-Jun-2021
Advisor(s) : Dewals, Benjamin ULiège
Erpicum, Sébastien ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Hage, André ULiège
Pirotton, Michel ULiège
Andrianne, Thomas ULiège
RIVIERE, Nicolas 
Language : English
Number of pages : 109
Keywords : [en] drag
[en] body-like shape
[en] experiment
[en] drowning
[en] drift
Discipline(s) : Engineering, computing & technology > Civil engineering
Target public : Researchers
Professionals of domain
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Degree: Master en ingénieur civil des constructions, à finalité spécialisée en "civil engineering"
Faculty: Master thesis of the Faculté des Sciences appliquées


[en] This thesis is a contribution towards model-based guidance for the search of victims of drowning in rivers. It includes two parts: (i) an experimental study aiming at characterizing the hydrodynamic properties of a human-body shape, and (ii) the setup of a preliminary computational tool designed to simulate the drift of a human body in an open channel.
Literature on the prediction of the motion of floating objects and bodies in water was first reviewed. For the case of a human body, a lack of knowledge on the parameters influencing controlling the drift was highlighted.
Next, two complementary series of laboratory experiments were undertaken, one in a 20-m long glass flume and the second one in a 100-m long towing tank. The former involves rigid body models (dummies) at a scale of approximately 1:6, the covered range of relative velocity is 0.09 and 0.2 m/s and the particulate Reynolds number spans between 2.8*104 and 5.2*104. In the towing tank, a prototype-scale rigid body model was used, with a velocity of 0.1 to 0.5 m/s, and a particulate Reynolds number varying between 105 and 8*105.
The experiments enabled estimating the drag coefficient of the body models, and the results were compared to a reference shape (cylinder). A systematic analysis of parameters such as the body shape, its orientation with respect to the approaching flow, and its submersion depth was undertaken. Additional parameters were also explored, including the presence of hair and clothes.
Based on a combination of backwater profile calculation and parametrized cross-sectional velocity distribution, a 3D computational model of the flow field in the laboratory flume was set up. Simple drift computations were performed, which focused on the body motion in the streamwise direction. This enabled sensitivity analysis regarding the relative importance of the drag and added mass coefficients.
Finally, limitations of the study are discussed and future research directions are proposed.



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  • Delhez, Clément ULiège Université de Liège > Master ingé. civ. constr., fin.


Committee's member(s)

  • Hage, André ULiège Université de Liège - ULiège > Département ArGEnCo > ANAST (Systèmes de transport et constructions navales)
    ORBi View his publications on ORBi
  • Pirotton, Michel ULiège Université de Liège - ULiège > Département ArGEnCo > HECE (Hydraulics in Environnemental and Civil Engineering)
    ORBi View his publications on ORBi
  • Andrianne, Thomas ULiège Université de Liège - ULiège > Département d'aérospatiale et mécanique > Interactions Fluide-Structure - Aérodynamique expérimentale
    ORBi View his publications on ORBi
  • RIVIERE, Nicolas
  • Total number of views 86
  • Total number of downloads 166

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