A wind tunnel examination of shear stress partitioning for an assortment of surface roughness distributions



[1] Surface roughness aids to ameliorate wind erosion by extracting a portion of the wind's momentum thereby reducing the quantity of stress on the surface. This paper evaluates the effect of different spatial arrangements of surface roughness on the partition of average drag forces and distribution of stress at the surface. A new tiered force balance was used in a wind tunnel to independently and simultaneously measure the drag on arrays of roughness elements and the drag on the intervening surface. In addition, Irwin sensors recorded point measurements of surface shear stress within the arrays. Roughness arrays consisted of small cylinders in four different spatial arrangements, one being staggered and three being simplifications of natural roughness configurations, at four roughness densities. Results from the tiered force balance and Irwin sensors indicate that the roughness configuration has a small impact on the average (R) and maximum (R″) drag partition. The protection of the surface increased with roughness density regardless of the roughness arrangement. Point measurements of shear stress revealed that the roughness configuration had a small impact on the distribution of shear stress at the surface, and that the maximum shear stress scaled to the average shear stress. Drag partition measurements were compared to the ratios predicted by the Raupach et al. (1993) model and a good degree of agreement was found for all configurations when using measured values of the β and m parameter.