Modelling and measurements of sand transport processes over full-scale ripples in oscillatory flow

Jebbe J. van der Werf, Jan S. Ribberink, Tom O'Donoghue, Jeffrey C. Doucette

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A new series of laboratory experiments was performed in the Aberdeen Oscillatory Flow Tunnel (AOFT) and the Large Oscillating Water Tunnel (LOWT) to investigate time-averaged suspended sand concentrations and transport rates over rippled beds in regular and irregular oscillatory flow. The wave-induced oscillatory near-bed flows were simulated at full-scale. Five series of experiments were carried out. During the two AOFT experimental series, ripple dimensions, ripple migration rates and net sand transport rates were measured under regular and irregular asymmetric flow for two different sand types. The three LOWT experimental series focussed on measurements of the ripple dimensions, ripple migration rates, time-averaged suspended sand concentrations and net sand transport rates under regular asymmetric and irregular weakly asymmetric flow for two different sand types. From analysis of new and other full-scale data, it is concluded that the lower part of the time- and bed-averaged concentration profile (up to two times the ripple height above the ripple crest level) has an exponential profile. A new reference concentration formula is proposed based on the formula of Bosman and Steetzel [Bosman, J.J., Steetzel, H.J., 1986. Time- and bed-averaged concentration under waves. Proc. 20th ICCE Taipei, ASCE, pp. 986–1000], which includes the grain-size influence. Furthermore, it is shown that the concentration decay length is strongly related to the ripple height and that the simple formula Rc = 1.27η gives good agreement with the data. A new transport model is proposed for the wave-related net transport over full-scale ripples based on a modified half wave cycle concept of Dibajnia and Watanabe [Dibajnia, M., Watanabe, A., 1992. Sheet flow under nonlinear waves and currents. Proc. 23rd ICCE Venice, ASCE, pp. 2015–2028; Dibajnia, M., Watanabe, A., 1996. A transport rate formula for mixed sands. Proc. 25th ICCE Orlando, ASCE, pp. 3791–3804]. The magnitudes of the half wave cycle transport contributions are related to the grain-related Shields parameter, the degree of wave asymmetry and a newly defined vortex suspension parameter P, which is the ratio between the ripple height and the median grain-size. The new model has been calibrated using transport data from the new regular flow experiments and has subsequently been validated using other data, including measurements from irregular flow experiments. The new model is seen to perform better overall than existing practical models for ripple regime net sand transport.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)657-673
JournalCoastal engineering
Issue number2006
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Flow tunnel
  • Ripple
  • Sand transport
  • Oscillatory flow
  • Experiments
  • IR-73850
  • METIS-224457
  • Suspended sand

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