Experimental study of suspension flow in open channels

The study of the sediment transport in open-channel as well as in river flow is of great importance for fluvial hydraulics. While the transport of sedimentary particles at the bed, as the bed-load, has been the subject of much research, less attention has been paid to the transport of sediments in suspension. This thesis is a contribution to our knowledge of the transport of sediments in suspension. The most important theory on the vertical distribution of the mean sediment concentration in suspension flows is the diffusion-convection theory, given by the Rouse equation. This equation is rather simple and contains few parameters. About one of these parameters, the β-value, there is little known, despite its importance and physical meaning. One of the main aims of this thesis is to experimentally measure the β-values for different suspension flow configurations. The major objective was to investigate suspension flows over moveable beds without bed forms and this in capacity condition. Since flows are at times not in capacity, i.e. the flows are not saturated with sediments, an additional study (see Appendix C) was also performed. Furthermore, two special runs were done (see Appendix D), where the bed was covered with artificial bed forms. In order to evaluate the β-values, the vertical profiles of the mean velocity and its fluctuations as well as the mean concentration and its fluctuations had to be measured. This could only be done by using the new ultrasonic instrument (Acoustic Particle Flux Profiler, APFP), developed and assembled at the Laboratoire de Recherches Hydrauliques (LRH). Suspension flows were investigated focusing on the possible modification of the clear-water turbulence by suspended sediments. The concentration was carefully measured and interpreted by the Rouse equation. In particular, the ratio of the sediment, εs(y) , and momentum, εm(y) , diffusion coefficients, being the β(y) -value, was for the first time, directly measured. The strongest effect of particles on the flow was noticed on the vertical component of the turbulence intensity, , which was considerably suppressed, when compared to clear-water flow. The longitudinal velocity, u(y) , its turbulence intensity component, , and the Reynolds stress, – ρu'v' , were only slightly affected. By using the APFP instrument, the instantaneous sediment concentrations, cs, were, for the first time, directly measured. The calibration of the APFP instrument was achieved by measuring the mean concentration profiles, cs, with the suction method. The largest measured fluctuating concentrations, , and sediment flux, profiles were observed close to the bed, where the mean concentration is also very large. The sediment, εs, and the momentum, εm, diffusion coefficients, which represent the "ability" of sediment and fluid particles to be diffused in the flow by turbulence, were computed from the APFP measurements. For suspension flows over plane-bed, the sediment diffusion-coefficient profiles are always smaller than the momentum ones, εs < εm. This indicates that sediment particles undergo less diffusion than fluid particles; consequently the β-values are less than unity, β < 1. Thus, the usual assumption of εs = εm, that leads to β = 1, is not justified for the present measurements. The Rouse equation gives a better agreement to the concentration distributions measured with the suction method, by using the experimental obtained β-values, , rather than by using β = 1. For practical use, the experimental values and the ones obtained by a best-fit (least-squares method) of the Rouse equation to some concentration distributions taken from the literature are summarized in a plot. It seems that the β-values increase with either scaling parameters, vss/u*, and (vss/u*) · (Cs/csa). The effects of suspended particles on the clear-water turbulence were also investigated in non-capacity suspension flows having increasing concentrations. The measurements show that, the suppression (damping) of the vertical component of the turbulence intensity – caused by suspended particles – increases with the depth-averaged concentration. The tendency of the - values to decrease approaching the capacity condition, i.e. increasing the concentration, was also found. Suspension flows over bed forms were also investigated; in this study special attention was paid to the evolution of the flow structure behind the bed-form crest as well as the effect of bed forms on the β-values. The bed-form crest seems to generate a high-turbulence region with consequent peaks in both the longitudinal and vertical turbulence-intensity profiles as well as in the Reynolds-stress profiles. This high-turbulence region enhances the sediment diffusion coefficient but suppresses the momentum one. As a consequence, we found that for suspension flows over beds with bed forms, εs > εm, leading to β > 1. The most important result of this thesis is a recommendation that the Rouse equation with an improved β-value – itself to be estimated from the experimental plots obtained in this study – can be used to establish the dimensionless concentration profile of suspension flows. For beds without bed forms the β-values are β < l, while for beds with bed forms the β-values are β > 1. The correlation between the velocity fluctuations, associated with coherent structures (burst cycle), and the concentration was also investigated. From this study it becomes evident that the ejection event, being the most important phase of a burst cycle, is responsible of the erosion of sediment on the bed, behaving as an "injector" of sediments into the main flow.

Graf, Walter Hans
Lausanne, EPFL

 Record created 2005-03-16, last modified 2018-03-17

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