Journal article

Measuring Bedload Sediment Transport with an Acoustic Doppler Velocity Profiler

Acoustic Doppler velocity profilers (ADVP) measure the velocity simultaneously in a linear array of bins. They have been successfully used in the past to measure three-dimensional turbulent flow and the dynamics of suspended sediment. The capability of ADVP systems to measure bedload sediment flux remains uncertain. The main outstanding question relates to the physical meaning of the velocity measured in the region where bedload sediment transport occurs. The main hypothesis of the paper, that the ADVP measures the velocity of the moving bedload particles, is validated in laboratory experiments that range from weak to intense bedload transport. First, a detailed analysis of the raw return signals recorded by the ADVP reveals a clear footprint of the bedload sediment particles, demonstrating that these are the main scattering sources. Second, time-averaged and temporal fluctuations of bedload transport derived from high-speed videography are in good agreement with ADVP estimates. Third, ADVP based estimates of bedload velocity and thickness of the bedload layer comply with semi-theoretical expressions based on previous results. An ADVP configuration optimized for bedload measurements is found to perform only marginally better than the standard configuration for flow measurements, indicating that the standard ADVP configuration can be used for sediment flux investigations. Data treatment procedures are developed that identify the immobile-bed surface, the layers of rolling/sliding and saltating bedload particles, and the thickness of the bedload layer. Combining ADVP measurements of the bedload velocity with measurements of particle concentration provided by existing technology would provide the sediment flux. (C) 2017 American Society of Civil Engineers.


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