The motion of sediment-water mixtures during intense bedload transport: computer simulations



A new model, which couples fluid and particle dynamics, has been developed to study the motion of the sediment-water mixture during intense bedload transport, including the velocity profiles of both sediment and water, the roughness length of an upper plane bed and the thickness of moving sediment layers. Standard mixing length theory is used to model the motion of water above the boundary between the overlying water and the sediment-water mixture. The turbulent flow within the moving sediment layers is described by a shear stress model, in which the effective viscosity of the flowing water is proportional to the velocity difference between the fluid and the sediment. The particle dynamics method, in which the equations of motion of each of many particles are solved directly, is applied to model the movement of sediment particles. The particle-fluid interaction is expressed by a velocity-squared fluid drag force exerted on each sediment particle. Both computer simulation results and theoretical analysis have shown that the velocities of both sediment and fluid during intense sediment transport decrease exponentially with depth in the top layers of a fast-moving sediment—water mixture. The thickness of the moving sediment layers, obtained from the computer simulation results, is proportional to the shear stress, which agrees with previous experimental observations.