Turbulence modulation and particle velocities over flat sand beds at low transport rates

Jim Best, Sean Bennett, John Bridge, Mike Leeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The presence of sand moving at low transport rates over a flat bed modulates the production of turbulence when compared to clearwater flow at similar mean flow conditions. Phase Doppler anemometry is used to discriminate the turbulence characteristics of the carrier fluid from the sediment grains (0.22 mm diameter) and shows that the presence of mobile sediment increases the near-wall velocity gradient and shear velocity when compared with the clearwater values. This increased shear velocity is associated with a greater bed roughness height and near-bed turbulence intensities and smaller mixing lengths. Quantification of slip velocities between the fluid and sediment phases reveals particle Reynolds numbers that range from 1 to 30. Turbulence enhancement is shown to occur at lower values of both the Stokes number and ratio of the particle size-to-turbulent length scale than in past work. Several mechanisms of turbulence modulation may be invoked to explain these changes, including increased bed roughness, eddy shedding from large grains, grain inertial effects, and particle-coherent structure interactions. These mechanisms may be significantly influenced by both particle-particle and particle-wall interactions. Since mobile sediment modulates the carrier fluid turbulence, there is a need for modification of existing theories of sediment suspension and for caution when interpreting velocity profiles that are obtained without discriminating the fluid and sediment phases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1118-1128
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hydraulic Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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