An experimental and theoretical analysis of floating wood diffusion coefficients

  • Sabrina Meninno
  • Elisabetta PersiEmail author
  • Gabriella Petaccia
  • Stefano Sibilla
  • Aronne Armanini
Original Article


Wood transport during high flow events is here treated as an advective–diffusive phenomenon. A theoretical definition of the governing equation is first provided, highlighting the dependence of floating wood diffusion on the adoption of adequate diffusion coefficients. To estimate these coefficients, an experimental investigation on large wood debris was carried out in a channel presenting a weakly sinusoidal plant, employing regular cylinders with various sizes under different flow conditions. For each configuration, a consistent number of trajectories for the floating wood were acquired and processed through imaging techniques, allowing for a statistical analysis of the wood dynamics. The tests showed that floating logs travel at a velocity lower than the water surface one, not completely aligned to the flow direction and tend to disperse streamwise and transversely. Under the assumption that wood dispersion can be derived from the analysis of wood trajectories fluctuations, the longitudinal, transversal and angular diffusion coefficients were computed. Finally, a preliminary dimensional analysis is presented discussing the relevant spatial and temporal scales for these coefficients.


Large wood Diffusion coefficients Wood velocity Floating wood transport 



The authors would like to thank the EU and MIUR for funding, in the frame of the collaborative international consortium STEEP STREAMS financed under the ERA-NET Cofund WaterWorks2014 Call. This ERA-NET is an integral part of the 2015 Joint Activities developed by the Water Challenges for a Changing World Joint Programme Initiative (Water JPI). We are also grateful to the technicians of the Hydraulic Laboratory of the University of Trento Andrea Bampi, Lorenzo Forti, Fabio Sartori and Paolo Scarfiello for their support in the experimental investigation.

Supplementary material

10652_2019_9693_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (679 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 678 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CERISInstituto Superior TécnicoLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.DICAMUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly
  3. 3.DICARUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly

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