Experiments on particle-turbulence interactions in the near-wall region of an open channel flow: Implications for sediment transport

Y. Niño, M. H. Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A high-speed video system was used to study the interaction between sediment particles and turbulence in the wall region of an open channel flow with both smooth and transitionally rough beds. In smooth flows, particles immersed within the viscous sublayer were seen to accumulate along low-speed wall streaks; apparently due to the presence of quasi-streamwise vortices in the wall region. Larger particles did not tend to group along streaks, however their velocity was observed to respond to the streaky structure of the flow velocity in the wall region. In transitionally rough flows particle sorting was not observed. Coherent flow structures in the form of shear layers typically observed in the near-wall region interacted with sediment particles lying on the channel bottom, resulting in the particles being entrained into suspension. Although there has been some speculation that this process would not be effective in entraining particles totally immersed in the viscous sublayer, the results obtained demonstrate the opposite. The entrainment mechanism appears to be the same independent of the roughness condition of the bottom wall, smooth or transitionally rough. In the latter case, however, hiding effects tend to preclude the entrainment of particles with sizes finer than that of the roughness elements. The analysis of particle velocity during entrainment shows that the streamwise component tends to be much smaller than the local mean flow velocity, while the vertical component tends to be much larger than the local standard deviation of the vertical flow velocity fluctuations, which would indicate that such particles are responding to rather extreme flow ejection events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-319
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Nov 10 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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