SMS:PTM Sources

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The material which is to be modeled in PTM is released from sources. The amount of material released from each source is specified as a mass, either as an instantaneously released total mass, or as a mass release rate over a given time period. PTM represents this mass by a finite number of particles.

Particles can be introduced via three different types of sources:

  • Point Sources
  • Line Sources
  • Area Sources

There can be any number of any source type used in a simulation, and different source types can be specified in the same simulation.

Point Sources


If the material to be modeled is to be released at a single point in time, then an instantaneous source should be specified. An example of this type of release is an accidental spill from a vessel. This type of release occurs at a fixed location, and the full release of material occurs at the time given and with the properties specified.


If the release of material occurs over a period of time, then a varying-release point source should be specified. An example of this type of release is a leak from a pipeline. The characteristics of release point sources can vary with time (e.g., release rate, three dimensional positions, etc.). Varying-release point sources can be started, stopped, re-started, moved, etc., as directed in a source release schedule, which is developed through the SMS interface.

The horizontal and vertical radii of both types of point sources can be specified in the source release schedule. If either radius is greater than zero, then the initial locations of the individual particles are varied so as to produce a two- or three-dimensional Gaussian-distributed cloud.

Line Sources

Line sources must either be vertical or horizontal and are varying-release. Particles released from a line source will have a uniform distribution along the line and a two-dimensional Gaussian distribution in the plane perpendicular to the line. Line sources are specified by their end points. Line sources may move or change length, position, or discharge properties with time. Linear interpolation in time is used for most properties in a line source, but the characteristics of the release do not vary along the line source (e.g., the release rate of particles can vary with time for a line, but the rate will be the same over the length of that line). To model a line source with varying characteristics along the line, one could use a series of lines positioned end to end, each with different characteristics.

Area Sources

Area sources lie in a veritical or horizontal plane and are varying-release. Area sources are polygons and are specified by the locations of their vertices. The vertices must be ordered with a counter-clockwise convention. Particles are released from an area source such that there is a uniform distribution over the area and a Gaussian distribution perpendicular to the source. Source properties within an area source are uniform across the polygon.

Calculated vs. Specified Values

PTM can calculate the Fall Velocity, Critical Shear Initiation, and Critical Shear Deposition. Specifying a value of -1.0 for any of these parameters will result in the model calculating the value. See the model user manual for information on the equations used to calculate these values.

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