On the structure of turbulent gravel bed flow: Implications for sediment transport
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The main objective of this study was to examine the turbulent flow field over gravel particles as a first step towards understanding sediment transport in a gravel bed river. Specifically, the vertical momentum flux in gravel bed turbulent flow was investigated with particular attention to the near-bed region. Spatial organization of vertical momentum flux was studied with stereoscopic Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurements in a horizontal layer 1mm above the gravel crests. The vertical momentum flux through the water column was described with digital PIV measurements in three vertical planes. The data showed that near the gravel bed, net turbulent momentum flux spatially varies with respect to bed topography. Analysis of the vertical velocity data revealed that near the gravel particle crests, there is a significant net vertical form-induced momentum flux approximately with the same order of magnitude as the net ver- tical turbulent momentum flux. Above the crests, total net vertical momentum flux is positive. However, below the crests, despite noticeable positive form-induced momentum flux, total net vertical momentum flux is negative. Results of quadrant analysis show that variation of turbulent net vertical momentum flux through water column is in agreement with prevalence of upward movement of low velocity flow (known as ejection) above gravel crests and downward movement of high velocity flow (known as sweep) below gravel crests. Below gravel crests ( −0 . 1 < z/H < 0 . 0 ), there is a region where the contribution of second quadrant to Reynolds shear stress is lower than fourth quadrant, while the contribution of second quadrant to vertical momentum flux is higher than fourth quadrant. This can be interpreted that ejection events in this region are strong enough to lift up fine particles but their contribution is not sufficient to move fine particles in the longitudinal direction.