Turbulence and Secondary Flow over Sediment Stripes in Weakly Bimodal Bed Material

Stuart J. Mclelland, Philip J. Ashworth, James L. Best, John R. Livesey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Longitudinal stripes are a common bed form in heterogeneous alluvial sediments and consist of periodic, spanwise variations in bed texture and elevation that are aligned parallel to the mean flow direction. This paper quantifies mean and turbulent flow structures over self-formed sediment stripes in a weakly bimodal sand and gravel mixture. Turbulence anisotropy generates two secondary circulation cells across the channel half-width, which produce a cross-stream perturbation in boundary shear stress. The interaction between this flow structure and the selective transport of bed material generates spanwise sediment sorting that is symmetrical about the centerline. Finer sediments are entrained from regions of high shear stress, transported laterally by the secondary flow, and deposited in regions of lower shear stress. Lateral changes in bed texture further enhance the near-bed secondary flow, which provides a positive feedback mechanism for stripe growth. In bimodal sediments, at shear stresses just above the entrainment threshold, stripes may replace lower-stage plane beds. At higher shear stresses the coarser sediment becomes more mobile and the stripes are replaced by flow transverse bed forms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-473
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hydraulic Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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