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Turbulence and Turbulent Transport in Sediment-Laden Open-Channel Flows


Lyn, Dennis Anthony (1987) Turbulence and Turbulent Transport in Sediment-Laden Open-Channel Flows. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/G5WF-5K07.


Some aspects of turbulence in sediment-laden open-channel flows are examined. A conceptual model based on similarity hypotheses rather than the traditional mixing-length closures is proposed. It is argued that, over a wide range of laboratory conditions, the main effect of the suspended sediment on the flow is confined to a layer near the bed. If such a distinct layer can be discerned, then this is separated from the outer flow by an inertial subregion in which the mean-velocity profile is approximately logarithmic, with an associated von Kàrman constant of ≈ 0.4, i.e., the same value as in single-phase flows. It is further shown that power-law profiles may be derived from general similarity arguments and asymptotic matching. These implications contrast with those of previous models in which changes in the mean-velocity profile are supposed to occur throughout the flow or primarily in the flow far from the bed. Length and concentration scales appropriate to sediment-laden flows are suggested.

An experimental study was also undertaken. Both the saturated case, in which a sand bed was present, and the unsaturated case, in which a sand bed was absent, were investigated. The study was restricted to nominally flat beds, composed of three well sorted sands (median grain diameters ranged from 0.15 mm to 0.24 mm). A two-component laser-Doppler-velocimetry system was used for velocity measurements. Suction sampling was used to measure local mean concentrations. The major points of the conceptual model are supported by the experimental results. Higher-order statistics of the velocity field were found to exhibit little evidence of any effect on the outer flow, supporting the view that the effect of the suspended sediment is felt primarily in the inner region. This contrasts with the predictions of recent models that propose an analogy between sediment-laden flows and weakly stable density-stratified flows.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Environmental Engineering Science
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Environmental Science and Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Brooks, Norman H.
Thesis Committee:
  • Brooks, Norman H. (chair)
  • Coles, Donald Earl
  • Wu, Theodore Yao-tsu
  • List, E. John
  • Vanoni, Vito A.
Defense Date:11 September 1986
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Haagen-Smit Tyler FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-03042008-133940
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:872
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:14 Mar 2008
Last Modified:04 Jun 2024 23:50

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PDF (Lyn_da_1987.pdf) - Final Version
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