• Sediment suspension;
  • turbidity current;
  • turbulent acceleration;
  • turbulent stress;
  • wall jet


The vertical component of the turbulent flow acceleration term, inline image, is used to determine the net positive vertical force that may support a suspended sediment load. A dimensionless criterion, Λ, is proposed for the maintenance of suspension, defined as the ratio of the maximum vertical turbulent stress to immersed weight of the suspended load above a unit bed area. In order that a suspension be maintained:

  • image

where v ′ is instantaneous vertical turbulent velocity, σ and ρ are solid and fluid densities, respectively and m is the suspended load dry mass. The Λ criterion is dynamic, being a ratio of stresses and is analogous in this respect to Shields dimensionless stress criterion, θ, for the initiation of bedload motion. The new criterion is successful in predicting the maintenance of steady-state suspended sediment transport in open channel shear flow and deposition from non-uniform particulate density flows of wall jet type.