Preliminary Results on Sediment Sorting Under Intense Bedload Transport

Friday, 19 December 2014
Ricardo Rafael Hernandez Moreira1, Drew Vautin1, Simran L Mathews2, Rachel Kuprenas1 and Enrica Viparelli3, (1)University of South Carolina Columbia, Columbia, SC, United States, (2)Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, United States, (3)university of South Carolina, columbia, SC, United States
Previous experiments show that parallel-laminated deposits are emplaced under upper plane bed regime by the migration of small-amplitude, long-wavelength bedforms. The present research focuses on how sediment is sorted under upper plane bed and sheet flow transport regimes, and whether parallel-lamination is inhibited during sheet flow transport. The problem of studying the sorting of sediment under so intense transport conditions is plagued by the uncertainties related to flow resistances and bedload transport rates. We simplify the problem by first running the experiments with uniform sediment, to establish a baseline that will aid in the design of the experiments with poorly sorted material. We are running experiments at the Hydraulics Laboratory of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, in a unidirectional sediment-feed flume, 9 meters long by 0.2 meters wide, of which 7 meters are used as test section. During the experiments, water surface and bed elevations are periodically measured to characterize the global parameters of the flow, e.g. mean flow velocity and bed shear stress. When the flow and the sediment transport reach conditions of mobile bed equilibrium, bed elevation fluctuations are measured with ultrasonic transducer systems at six fixed locations. Channel bed aggradation is then induced by slowly raising the tail gate of the flume such that there is no change in transport regime, as confirmed by additional measurements of water surface and bed elevation and bed elevation fluctuations. Preliminary observations under upper plane bed regime show the formation of the small-amplitude and long-wavelength bedforms, as well as hints of parallel lamination in the deposits. In the near future we aim to achieve sheet flow transport conditions with both uniform and non-uniform grain size distributions to look at the internal structure of the emplaced deposit.