Transport processes of uniform and mixed sands in oscillatory sheet flow

Wael Hassan, Jan S. Ribberink

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New experiments were carried out in the Large Oscillating Water Tunnel of WL|Delft Hydraulics (scale 1:1) using asymmetric 2nd-order Stokes waves. The main aim was to gain a better understanding of size-selective sediment transport processes under oscillatory plane-bed/sheet-flow conditions. The new data show that for uniform sand sizes between 0.2 < D < 1.0 mm, measured net transport rates are hardly affected by the grain size and are proportional to the third-order velocity moment. However for finer grains (D = 0.13 mm) net sand transport rates change from the ‘onshore’ direction into the ‘offshore’ direction in the high velocity range. A new measuring technique for sediment concentrations, based on the measurement of electro-resistance (see [McLean, S.R., Ribberink, J.S., Dohmen-Janssen, C.M. and Hassan, W.N.M., 2001. Sediment transport measurements within the sheet flow layer under waves and currents. J. Waterw., Port, Coast., Ocean Eng., ISSN 0733-950X]), was developed further for the improved measurement of sediment dynamics inside the sheet-flow layer. This technique enabled the measurements of particle velocities during the complete wave cycle. It is observed that for long period waves (T = 12.0 s), time-dependent concentrations inside the sheet-flow layer are nearly in phase with the time-dependent flow velocities. As the wave period decreases, the sediment entrainment from the bed as well as the deposition process back to the bed lags behind the wave motion more and more. The new data show that size-gradation has almost no effect on the net total transport rates, provided the grain sizes of the sand mixture are in the range of 0.2 < D < 1.0 mm. However, if very fine grains (D = 0.13 mm) are present in the mixture, net total transport rates of graded sand are generally reduced in comparison with uniform sand with the same D50. The transport rates of individual size fractions of a mixture are strongly influenced by the presence of other fractions in a mixture. Fine particles in sand mixtures are relatively less transported than in that uniform sand case, while the opposite occurs for coarse fractions in a mixture. The relative contribution of the coarse grains to the net total transport is therefore larger than would be expected based on their volume proportion in the original sand mixture. This partial transport behaviour is opposite to what is generally observed in uni-directional (e.g. river) flows. This is caused by vertical sorting of grain sizes in the upper bed layer and in the sheet flow and suspension layers. Kinematic sorting is believed to be responsible for the development of a coarse surface layer on top of a relatively fine sub-layer, providing in this way a relatively large flow exposure for the coarser sizes. Furthermore fine grains are suspended more easily than coarse grains to higher elevations in the flow where they are subject to increasing phase-lag effects (settling lags). The latter also leads to reduced net transport rates of these finer sizes.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)745-770
JournalCoastal engineering
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005


  • IR-60015
  • Graded sand
  • Waves
  • Sand transport
  • Uniform sediments
  • Sheet flow

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