Vertical fluxes of sediment in oscillatory sheet flow

Peter Nielsen, K.U. van der Wal, Luke Gillan

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    Time series of vertical sediment fluxes are derived from concentration time series in sheet flow under waves. While the concentrations C(z,t) vary very little with time for |z|<10d50, the measured vertical sediment fluxes Qzs(z,t) vary strongly with time in this vertical band and their time variation follows, to some extent, the variation of the grain roughness Shields parameter θ2.5(t). Thus, sediment distribution models based on the pickup function boundary condition are in some qualitative agreement with the measurements. However, the pickup function models are only able to model the upward bursts of sediment during the accelerating phases of the flow. They are, so far, unable to model the following strong downward sediment fluxes, which are observed during the periods of flow deceleration. Classical pickup functions, which essentially depend on the Shields parameter, are also incapable of modelling the secondary entrainment fluxes, which sometimes occur at free stream velocity reversal. The measured vertical fluxes indicate that the effective sediment settling velocity in the high [(0.3<C(z,t)<0.4] concentration area is typically only a few percent of the clear water settling velocity, while the measurements of Richardson and Jeronimo [Chem. Eng. Sci. 34 (1979) 1419], from a different physical setting, lead to estimates of the order 20%. The data does not support gradient diffusion as a model for sediment entrainment from the bed. That is, detailed modelling of the observed near-bed fluxes would require diffusivities that go negative during periods of flow deceleration. An observed general trend for concentration variability to increase with elevation close to the bed is also irreconcilable with diffusion models driven by a bottom boundary condition.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)61-68
    JournalCoastal engineering
    Issue number2002
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • Reference concentrations
    • Pickup functions
    • METIS-205770
    • IR-73846
    • Sediment flux
    • Sheet flow

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