A model for the entrainment and transport of sediment grains of mixed sizes, shapes, and densities


  • John S. Bridge,

  • Sean J. Bennett


A model for the entrainment and bed load transport of sediment grains of different sizes, shapes and densities by a unidirectional turbulent flow is developed in terms of (1) sediment types available for transport; (2) the mean and turbulent fluctuating values of fluid forces acting upon the sediment grains; and (3) the nature of the interaction between turbulent fluid forces and available sediment, resulting in entrainment and transport of grains as bed load or in suspension. The behavior of the model is explored extensively, and compared with natural data from flumes and rivers. The predicted threshold of entrainment of individual size fractions within a mixed-size bed agrees well with observations as long as the pivoting angle is specified appropriately as a function of grain size. The rate and size distribution of bed load transport generally agrees well with natural data as long as effective bed shear stress in the presence of bed forms can be defined, bed load transport measurements are reliable, and the size distribution of available sediment is accurately specified.