Experimental Study on Sediment Supply-Limited Bedforms in a Coastal Context

  • Mélanie VahEmail author
  • Armelle Jarno
  • François Marin
  • Sophie Le Bot
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Water book series (SPWA)


Experiments are carried out in a flume without slope. Tests are performed for different unidirectional steady flow conditions, varying the initial sediment thickness and recirculating the sediment to ensure a constant supply condition, from an extremely limited sediment supply to an unlimited sediment supply condition. The formation of ripples and dunes is considered from an initially flat bed. The growth rate of the mean wavelength of ripples depends on the sediment supply, whether it is extremely limited or not. In spite of a rapid initial growth when sediment supply is extremely limited, the growth rate is much higher when sediment availability increases. As far as the equilibrium dimensions of the sedimentary structures are concerned, an increase of mean heights of ripples and dunes is pointed out when the sediment availability increases. The similar trend is found for mean ripple lengths but no clear trend is exhibited for dunes which are few and irregular. The empirical law proposed by Tuijnder et al. (2009) in a fluvial context for relative dune heights in the case of sediment limited supply conditions can be used for dunes in a coastal context. However, this formulation cannot be extended to ripple heights for which a dependence with flow conditions is noted. Ripple equilibrium lengths can be described with a relation suggested by Tuijnder et al. (2009) for dunes if an adaptation factor is considered.


Ripples Dunes Coastal bedforms Sediment supply limitation Sediment dynamics Physical modeling 



water depth (m)


grain size for which XX percent is finer


dimensionless grain size


gravitational acceleration (m/s²)


height (m)


slope energy level


Reynolds number


sediment relative density


mean velocity (m/s)


shear stress velocity (m/s)


position in the flume (m)

α, αT, αT, β, βT, γT

dimensionless parameters


growth exponent


layer thickness (m)


Shields parameter


wavelength (m)


water density (kg/m3)


standard deviation


kinematic viscosity (m²/s)

grain related






equilibrium value without supply-limitation



The authors express their sincere thanks to the Normandy region (SCALE Research Network) for funding this work. The help of master student C. El Hadi for the flume experiments was greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mélanie Vah
    • 1
    Email author
  • Armelle Jarno
    • 1
  • François Marin
    • 1
  • Sophie Le Bot
    • 2
  1. 1.Normandie Univ, UNIHAVRE, UMR 6294, CNRS, LOMCLe HavreFrance
  2. 2.Normandie Univ, UNIROUEN, UNICAEN, UMR 6143, CNRS, M2CRouenFrance

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