Sediment Transport

Sediment transport is essentially a two-phase flow problem in which the fluid phase is air or water and the solid phase is sediment particle. The processes of erosion, transport, and deposition of sediment, collectively termed as sedimentation, are natural processes and have been occurring throughout the geologic time. The landscape as well as the continental margin that includes the shelf, slope and canyons are continuously shaped by the process of sedimentation. Sediment transport occurs due to water, wind, and gravity. Interest in sediment transport stems from practical engineering importance of flood control, erosion control, and river basin management as well as economic interest associated with the extraction of petroleum and other mineral resources. The study of the movement of sediment particles under the influence of gravity and fluid drag constitutes a fascinating field. Let us treat river as a container. The typical container of fluid-sediment mixture, i.e. river, is constructed and deformed by its own content. Depending on the flow conditions and sediment size distribution, bedforms of various scale and shape can appear. These bedforms cause extra resistance to the flow and thus can alter the flow depth significantly.

In this chapter, focus primarily is given to sediment transport in rivers. The most common modes of sediment transport in rivers are bedload and suspended load. As bedload, sediment particles saltate, roll, and slide, but always staying close to the bed. As suspend load, sediment is carried by the fluid turbulence up in the water column. In the case of river, the volume concentration of solids in the water column tends to be rather dilute even during large floods. It is, therefore, possible to treat the sediment and fluid phase separately. It will take an entire text book to cover various aspects of sediment transport. Here, the following important topics are presented in a condensed form: sediment property, sand-bed and gravel-bed rivers, threshold conditions for sediment movement and significant suspension, Shields diagram, sediment mass conservation in the river bed, resistance relations, and transport of sediment as bedload and suspended load.


Sediment Transport Suspended Load Entrainment Rate Bedload Transport Sediment Size 


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