On the cause and characteristic scales of meandering and braiding in rivers

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A stability analysis of meandering and braiding perturbations in a model alluvial river is described. A perturbation technique, involving a small parameter representing the ratio of sediment transport to water transport, is used to obtain the following results. Under appropriate conditions, the existence of sediment transport and friction are necessary conditions for the occurrence of instability in the flow and on the bed; thus instability is not inherent in the flow alone. An Anderson-type scale relation for longitudinal instability is obtained for meandering. A relation estimating the number of braids and differentiating between meandering and braided regimes is derived. These relations are independent of sediment transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-480
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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