• Deflation;
  • threshold;
  • wind erosion;
  • wind tunnel


A very important parameter in aeolian equations is the deflation threshold shear velocity, which quantifies the instant of particle motion. In this paper, a simple model is presented for the prediction of the threshold shear velocity of dry loose particles. It has the same functional form as the widely used models of Bagnold (1941) and Greeley & Iversen (1985), but differs in its treatment of the so-called threshold parameter. As the new expression was based on the moment balance equation used by Greeley & Iversen, it includes a function for the aerodynamic forces, including the drag force, the lift force and the aerodynamic moment force, and a function for the interparticle forces. The effect of gravitation is incorporated in both functions. However, rather than using an implicit function for the effect of the aerodynamic forces as in the Greeley & Iversen model, a constant aerodynamic coefficient was introduced. From consideration of the van der Waals' force between two particles, it was also shown that the function for the interparticle cohesion force is inversely proportional to the particle diameter squared. The model was calibrated on data reported by Iversen & White (1982). The new expression compared, at least for terrestrial conditions, very well with the Greeley & Iversen model, although it is much simpler. It was finally validated with data from wind-tunnel experiments on different fractions of dune sand and sandy loam soil aggregates. The soil aggregates were treated as individual particles with a density equal to their bulk density. The good agreement between observations and predictions means that, when predicting mass transport of particles above a given soil, minimally dispersed particle-size distributions should be considered rather than the granulometric composition of the soil.