Mobile-bed effects in oscillatory sheet flow

C. Marjolein Dohmen-Janssen, Wael N. Hassan, Jan S. Ribberink

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Field observations often show a considerable variation in mean grain size along the coastal profile. Under high waves in shallow water, bed ripples are washed out, and sheet flow becomes the dominant transport mode: large amounts of sand are transported in a thin layer close to the bed, i.e., the sheet flow layer. This paper focuses on grain size influences on transport processes in oscillatory sheet flow. Experiments were carried out in the Large Oscillating Water Tunnel (LOWT) of Delft Hydraulics, in which near-bed orbital velocities in combination with a net current can be simulated at full scale. Three uniform sands with different mean grain size were used. It was found that in contradiction to expressions found in literature, both the erosion depth and the sheet flow layer thickness are larger for fine sand (D 50 = 0.13 mm) than for coarser sand (D 50 ≥ 0.21 mm). Measured time-averaged velocity and concentration profiles indicate that the presence of a sheet flow layer leads to an increased flow resistance and to damping of turbulence and that these effects are stronger for a thicker sheet flow layer (i.e., for fine sand). These mobile-bed effects are analyzed further by comparing the measurements with the results of a one-dimensional vertical advection-diffusion boundary layer model. Simulating the mobile-bed effects in the model by introducing an increased roughness height and a reduced turbulent eddy viscosity showed that the roughness height is of the order of the sheet flow layer thickness and that turbulence damping increases for a decreasing grain size.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27103-27115
JournalJournal of geophysical research : Oceans
Issue numberC11
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • METIS-124027
  • IR-60010


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