A Laboratory Experiment on the Evolution of a Sand Gravel Reach Under a Lack of Sediment Supply

Friday, 19 December 2014: 11:20 AM
Clara Orru1, Victor Chavarrias1, Velia Ferrara2 and Astrid Blom1, (1)Delft University of Technology, Delft, 5612, Netherlands, (2)Environmental Engineering and Recovery, Faculty of Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, via Claudio 21, 80125, Italy., Faculty of Engineering,, Naples, Italy
A flume experiment was conducted to examine the evolution of a sand-gravel reach under a lack of sediment supply. The experimental data are used to validate a numerical sand-gravel model. A bed composed of a bi-modal sediment mixture is installed with a uniform slope and an imposed gradual fining pattern. Initially, the sand fraction gradually increases in streamwise direction until the bed is fully composed of sand. The water discharge and downstream water level were constant, and the sediment feed rate was equal to zero. The experiment was dominated by bed load, partial transport, and a subcritical flow regime was imposed. The flow rate was such that only sand was mobile (partial transport), which led to a coarsening over the upstream reach and a gradual reduction of the sediment transport rate during the experiment. New equipment was used to measure the evolution of the grain size distribution of the bed surface during the experiment over the entire flume using image analysis. In the upstream reach we observed a gradual coarsening over time and the formation of an armour layer, which resulted in a more abrupt transition in grain size of the bed surface. Bed degradation increased in streamwise direction. This is due to the initial streamwise increase in the availability of sand in the bed. The different volume fraction content of sand in the bed allowed for the gravel to sink more in the downstream part of the upstream reach. The sand reach suffered from a larger degradation. Finally, we see one reach dominated by sand, small bedforms, and a small bed slope, and a gravel reach dominated by a larger bed slope.