Rheology of Mud: An Overview for Ports and Waterways Applications

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Mud, a cohesive material, consists of water, clay minerals, sand, silt and small quantities of organic matter (i.e., biopolymers). Amongst the different mud layers formed by human or natural activities, the fluid mud layer found on top of all the others is quite important from navigational point of view in ports and waterways. Rheological properties of fluid mud layers play an important role in navigation through fluid mud and in fluid mud transport. However, the rheological properties of mud are known to vary as a function of sampling location within a port, sampling depth and sampling location across the globe. Therefore, this variability in rheolog-ical fingerprint of mud requires a detailed and systematic analysis. This chapter presents two different sampling techniques and the measured rheological properties of mud, obtained from laboratory experiments. The six protocols used to measure the yield stresses are detailed and compared. Furthermore, the empirical or semi-empirical models that are commonly used to fit rheological experimental data of such systems are presented. The influence of different factors such as density and organic matter content on the rheological behavior of mud is discussed. The fluidic yield stress of mud samples was observed to vary from 0.2 Pa to 500 Pa as a function of density and organic matter content.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSediment Transport - Recent Advances
EditorsAndrew James Manning
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-83881-119-8
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Mud
  • Rheology
  • Density
  • Yield stress
  • Moduli
  • Flow curve
  • Protocol
  • Organic matter
  • Nautical bottom
  • Cohesive sedimen


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