Single sediment dynamics in turbulent flow over a porous bed - Insights from interface-resolved simulations

Ali Youse*, Pedro Costa, Luca Brandt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


We use interface-resolved direct numerical simulations to study the dynamics of a single sediment particle in a turbulent open channel flow over a fixed porous bed. The relative strength of the gravitational acceleration, quantified by the Galileo number, is varied so as to reproduce the different modes of sediment transport - resuspension, saltation and rolling. The results show that the sediment dynamics at lower Galileo numbers (i.e.resuspension and saltation) are mainly governed by the mean flow. Here, the regime of motion can be predicted by the ratio between the gravity and the shear-induced boundary force. In these cases, the sediment particle rapidly takes off when exposed to the flow, and proceeds with an oscillatory motion. Increasing the Galileo number, the frequency of these oscillations increases and their amplitude decreases, until the transport mode switches from resuspension to saltation. In this case, the sediment travels by short successive collisions with the bed. Further increasing the Galileo number, the particle rolls without detaching from the bed. Differently from the previous modes, the motion is triggered by extreme turbulent events, and the particle response depends on the specific initial conditions, at fixed Reynolds number. The results reveal that close to the onset of sediment motion, only turbulent sweeps can effectively trigger the particle motion by increasing the stagnation pressure upstream. We show that for the parameters in this study, a criterion based on the streamwise flow-induced force can successfully predict the incipient movement.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA24
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • multiphase flow
  • particle/fluid flow
  • sediment transport


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