How Grain Size Ratio and Fine Sediment Feed Concentration Influence Channel Slope Evolution Due to Grain Size Sorting in Bimodal Mixtures

Friday, 19 December 2014
Ashley Rebecca Dudill1,2, Philippe Frey1,3, Michael A Church2 and Marwan A Hassan2, (1)IRSTEA Grenoble, Saint Martin D'Hère Cedex, France, (2)University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, (3)Universite Grenoble Alpes, F-38041 Grenoble, France
It is essential that understanding of grain size sorting and its influence upon sediment transport in gravel-bed rivers is deepened due to implications for channel stability, ecology and stratigraphy. Previous work has shown how the addition of finer material to a coarse channel bed can enhance the mobility of the coarser sediment due to a reduced entrainment threshold. This enhanced mobility has been indexed using the change in equilibrium slope within the channel. However, it is not yet known how variations in the grain size ratio (diameter of coarse/diameter of fine), along with the concentration of fine material, influences this behavior.

New experiments undertaken with bimodal mixtures of spherical glass particles in a relatively narrow sediment-feed flume permit observation of the individual and bulk particle motion. These experiments demonstrate that degradation can occur when fine sediment is added to a coarse bed (Figure 1), and show the grain size ratios and fine sediment feed concentrations at which this arises. The research also shows that under certain conditions, aggradation can also occur due to the addition of finer sediment to a coarse channel bed. The amount of degradation and aggradation under varying conditions is quantified using the change in equilibrium bed slope.

Figure 1: Channel degradation (flow from right to left)