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

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doi:10.5194/esurf-2017-11
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
17 Mar 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf).
Turning the tide: comparison of tidal flow by periodic sealevel fluctuation and by periodic bed tilting in the Metronome tidal facility
Maarten G. Kleinhans1, Maarten van der Vegt1, Jasper Leuven1, Lisanne Braat1, Henk Markies1, Arjan Simmelink2, Chris Roosendaal1, Arjan van Eijk1, Paul Vrijbergen1, and Marcel van Maarseveen1 1Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, PObox 80115, 3508 TC Utrecht, the Netherlands
2Consmema design and steel construction, Hattem, the Netherlands
Abstract. Analogue models or scale experiments of estuaries and short tidal basins are notoriously difficult to create in the laboratory because of the difficulty to obtain currents strong enough to transport sand. Since Osborne Reynolds' experiments over a century ago, experimental tidal flow has been driven by periodic sealevel fluctuations. Recently we discovered a novel method to drive periodic tidal currents: periodically tilting the entire flume. This leads to sediment transport in both the ebb and flood phase which in tidal systems with dynamic channel and shoal patterns. Here we compare the tidal currents driven by sealevel fluctuations with those driven by tilting. We use a bespoke flume of 20 m by 3 m with rough bed: the Metronome. Experiments were run in a straight flume with different tilting periods and with either one or both boundaries open at constant head with free inflow and outflow. Also experiments were run with flow driven by periodic sealevel fluctuations. We recorded surface flow velocity along the flume with Particle Imaging Velocimetry and water levels along the flume. Furthermore we compared the results to a one-dimensional model with shallow flow equations for a rough bed. We found that Reynolds’ method results in negligible flows along the flume except for the first few meters, whereas flume tilting results in nearly uniform, reversing flow velocities along the entire flume that are strong enough to move sand. A periodically tilting flume therefore has the potential to simulate estuaries as observed in a pilot experiment and opens up the possibility of systematic biomorphological experimentation with self-formed estuaries.

Citation: Kleinhans, M. G., van der Vegt, M., Leuven, J., Braat, L., Markies, H., Simmelink, A., Roosendaal, C., van Eijk, A., Vrijbergen, P., and van Maarseveen, M.: Turning the tide: comparison of tidal flow by periodic sealevel fluctuation and by periodic bed tilting in the Metronome tidal facility, Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss., doi:10.5194/esurf-2017-11, in review, 2017.
Maarten G. Kleinhans et al.
Maarten G. Kleinhans et al.
Maarten G. Kleinhans et al.

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Short summary
Creating estuaries in the laboratory has been challenging. When the ebb and flood currents are driven by ebb and flood in the sea, they are too weak to move sand. Here we describe how periodic tilting of an entire experimental setup leads to ebb and flood currents similar in behaviour as in nature, and with enough strength to move sand. This means that this novel setup now allows creation of estuarine landscapes in experiments.
Creating estuaries in the laboratory has been challenging. When the ebb and flood currents are...
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