Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Collisional sheet flows of sediment driven by a turbulent fluid

a1 Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
a2 Department of Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering, The University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA


We consider a sheet flow in which heavy grains near a packed bed interact with a unidirectional turbulent shear flow of a fluid. We focus on sheet flows in which the particles are supported by their collisional interactions rather than by the velocity fluctuations of the turbulent fluid and introduce what we believe to be the simplest theory for the collisional regime that captures its essential features.

We employ a relatively simple model of the turbulent shearing of the fluid and use kinetic theory for the collisional grain flow to predict profiles of the mean fluid velocity, the mean particle velocity, the particle concentration, and the strength of the particle velocity fluctuations within the sheet. These profiles are obtained as solutions to the equations of balance of fluid and particle momentum and particle fluctuation energy over a range of Shields parameters between 0.5 and 2.5. We compare the predicted thickness of the concentrated region and the predicted features of the profile of the mean fluid velocity with those measured by Sumer et al. (1996). In addition, we calculate the volume flux of particles in the sheet as a function of Shields parameter.

Finally, we apply the theory to sand grains in air for the conditions of a sandstorm and calculate profiles of particle concentration, velocity, and local volume flux.

(Received June 27 1996)
(Revised April 6 1998)