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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
28 Jun 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper for further review has not been submitted.
Physical theory for near-bed turbulent particle-suspension capacity
Joris T. Eggenhuisen1, Matthieu J. B. Cartigny2, and Jan de Leeuw1 1Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 2, 3584 CS Utrecht, the Netherlands
2National Oceanography Centre, Waterfront Campus, European Way, Southampton, SO14 3ZH, UK
Abstract. The inability to capture the physics of solid-particle suspension in turbulent fluid flow is holding back application of multiphase computational fluid dynamics techniques to the many problems involving particle suspension in nature and society. We present a theory for particle suspension capacity near no-slip frictional boundaries of turbulent flows. The suspension capacity parameter Γ includes universal turbulent flow scales and material properties of the fluid and particles only. Comparison to measurements shows that Γ = 1 gives the upper limit of observed suspended particle concentrations in a broad range of flume experiments and field settings. The condition of Γ > 1 coincides with complete suppression of coherent turbulent structures near the boundary in Direct Numerical Simulations of sediment-laden turbulent flow. The theory outperforms previous empiric relations when compared to data. It can be applied as a concentration boundary condition in modelling studies of dispersion of particulates in environmental and man-made flows.

Citation: Eggenhuisen, J. T., Cartigny, M. J. B., and de Leeuw, J.: Physical theory for near-bed turbulent particle-suspension capacity, Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss., doi:10.5194/esurf-2016-33, in review, 2016.
Joris T. Eggenhuisen et al.
Joris T. Eggenhuisen et al.


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Short summary
Suspension of particles in turbulent flows is one of the most widely occurring physical phenomena in nature, yet no theory predicts the sediment transport capacity of the wind, avalanches, pyroclastic flows, rivers, estuarine or marine currents. We derive such a theory from universal turbulence characteristics and fluid and particle properties alone. It compares favourably with measurements and previous empiric formulations, making it the first physics-based theory for particle suspension.
Suspension of particles in turbulent flows is one of the most widely occurring physical...