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Applied Mathematical Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

Sediment threshold
Subhasish Dey

Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur 721302, West Bengal, India
Received 3 February 1998; received in revised form 27 February 1998; accepted 24 September 1998

Abstract
A model is presented to compute the threshold shear stress for non-cohesive sediment (uniform and non-uniform)
motion on a horizontal sedimentary bed, under a unidirectional steady-uniform stream ow. On the basis of hydrodynamical and micro-mechanical considerations, forces on a solitary sediment particle, resting on a compact bed
formed by equal sized sediment particles, under slip-spinning condition were analyzed with the aid of a computational
scheme. The experimental data of sediment threshold reported by various investigators were used to calibrate the model
making the lift coecient as a free parameter. An excellent agreement between the present model and the experimental
data of uniform sediments was possible owing to the calibration of the model. The computational results are presented
in the graphical form where the variation of normalized threshold shear stress with particle Reynolds number for
various angles of repose is shown. It is revealed that the threshold shear stress increases with an increase in angle of
repose of bed sediment. The results obtained using the present model are compared with the curves proposed by
dierent investigators and also have an agreement with the experimental data of non-uniform sediments. Diagram is
presented for the direct estimation of threshold shear stress from the information on sediment size and angle of repose. 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Analytical model; Erosion; Fluvial hydraulics; Sediment; Sedimentary bed; Sediment threshold; Sediment
transport

Nomenclature
A
A^
a, b, c
CD
D
d
d16
d50
d84
d~
d^
FD
FG
1

frontal area of solitary particle exposed to the ow (L2 )


A/D2 (M0 L0 T0 )
coecients depending on R (M0 L0 T0 )
drag coecient (M0 L0 T0 )
diameter of solitary particle (L)
diameter of particles forming the sedimentary bed (L)
16% ner particle diameter (L)
50% ner particle diameter (L)
84% ner particle diameter (L)
particle parameter (M0 L0 T0 )
d/D (M0 L0 T0 )
drag force (MLT2 )
submerged weight of sediment particle (MLT2 )

Tel.: +91 3222 55221 4420; fax: +91 3222 55303; e-mail: sdey@civil.iitkgp.ernet.in

0307-904X/99/$ see front matter 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 3 0 7 - 9 0 4 X ( 9 8 ) 1 0 0 8 1 - 1

400

FL
FLm
FLs
g
h
h^
k
ks
R
R
t
u
um
u
u^
u^m
X
x
Z
z
z0
^z
^z0
a, b
aL
d
^
d
e
^e
/
k
m
q
qs
s
^s
x
n
f

S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

total lift force (MLT2 )


lift due to Magnus eect (MLT2 )
lift due to shear eect (MLT2 )
gravitational constant (LT2 )
height of the bottom level of solitary particle with respect to the zero-velocity
level (L)
h/D (M0 L0 T0 )
von Karman constant (M0 L0 T0 )
equivalent roughess height of Nikuradse (L)
ow Reynolds number at particle level (M0 L0 T0 )
particle Reynolds number (M0 L0 T0 )
width of solitary particle at z (L)
ow velocity at z (LT1 )
mean ow velocity received by the frontal area of the solitary particle (LT1 )
threshold shear velocity (LT1 )
u/u (M0 L0 T0 )
um /u (M0 L0 T0 )
horizontal lever arm (L)
horizontal distance (L)
vertical lever arm (L)
vertical distance (L)
zero-velocity level (L)
z/D (M0 L0 T0 )
z0 /D (M0 L0 T0 )
angles (M0 L0 T0 )
lift coecient (M0 L0 T0 )
height of the bottom level of solitary particle with respect to the virtual bed level
(L)
d/D (M0 L0 T0 )
height of the bottom level of solitary particle or zero-velocity level with respect to
the virtual bed level (L)
e/D (M0 L0 T0 )
angle of repose of sediment particles (M0 L0 T0 )
a factor (M0 L0 T0 )
kinematic viscosity of uid (L2 T1 )
mass density of uid (ML3 )
mass density of sediment (ML3 )
threshold shear stress (ML1 T2 )
normalized threshold shear stress (M0 L0 T0 )
angular velocity of spinning particle (T1 )
a factor (M0 L0 T0 )
coecient depending on the existence of the summits of bed particles upstream of
the solitary particle (M0 L0 T0 )

1. Introduction
When the stream ow velocity increases gradually over a loose sedimentary bed, the motion of
sediment can only be presented if a situation is eventually reached when the bed shear stress

S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

401

induced by the ow exceeds a certain critical value. The critical condition, that is the condition to
be just less than that necessary to initiate sediment motion, is termed threshold. A slight increase
in ow velocity causes a small degree of sediment motion, which is known as incipient motion. The
threshold of sediment motion forms an integral part of the understanding of sediment transport.
Shields [1] has been the pioneer to describe the threshold shear stress at which the individual
particles on a sedimentary bed, comprising nearly spherical shaped and almost equal sized particles (uniform sediment), are on the verge of motion by a unidirectional stream ow. Although
most people [2] prefer Shields diagram, dissatisfactions with this diagram have been reported in
the literature [38]. Task committee [2], Graf [9], Raudkivi [10] and Garde and Ranga Raju [11]
gave a survey of literature on sediment threshold; and Lavelle and Mofjeld [12] compiled bibliographical references. White [13], Iwagaki [14], Egiazaro [15], Coleman [16] and Yang [17]
developed the theories on sediment threshold. Recently, some more theoretical analyses on sediment threshold have also been reported elsewhere [1820]. Unfortunately the results obtained
using those theoretical analyses deviate considerably from the experimental data.
This paper presents the ndings of an alternate analytical investigation to compute the
threshold shear stress for non-cohesive sediment particles (uniform and non-uniform sediments)
on a horizontal loose sedimentary bed, under a unidirectional steady-uniform stream ow, aided
by a computational scheme. In order to establish a proper matching between the model
results and the experimental data, the model is calibrated making the lift coecient as a free
parameter.

2. State-of-the-art
2.1. Concept of sediment threshold
A thorough survey of literature provides us with a number of concepts of sediment threshold.
The rst type of concept is based on sediment ux. Shields [1] put forward a concept of sediment
threshold that shear stress has a value for which the extrapolated sediment ux becomes zero. On
the other hand, USWES [21] set a concept of sediment threshold that tractive force brings about
general motion of bed particles. For sediment particles less than 0.6 mm, this concept was found to
be inadequate and general motion was redened that sediment in motion should reasonably be
represented by all sizes of bed particles and that sediment ux should exceed 4.1 104 kg s/m.
Thus, sediment threshold as a minimum ux was proposed.
The second type of concept is based on bed particle motion. Visual observations of the laboratory ume bed were made to identify the motion of sediment particles under increasing ow
condition. Kramer [22] indicated four dierent bed shear conditions for sedimentary bed for
which: (1) no particles are in motion, termed no transport; (2) a few of the smallest particles are in
motion at isolated zones, termed weak transport; (3) many particles of mean size are in motion,
termed medium transport; and (4) particles of all sizes are in motion at all points and at all times,
termed general transport. However, Kramer [22] pointed out the diculty of setting up clear limits
between these regimes but dened threshold shear stress to be that stress initiating general
transport. Vanoni [23] proposed that the sediment threshold is the condition of particle motion in
every 2 s at any bed position. White [24] and Mantz [6] made the visual observations of particle
motion to dene the terms rst motion and incipient transport, respectively, describing their demarcations of the motions of bed particle regimes. Neill and Yalin [25] proposed that some
diculties could be eliminated if the area, observation time, shear velocity, number of particles in
motion and particle size were incorporated into a non-dimensional number which might have a

402

S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

xed value for an experiment. This recommendation apparently has not been adopted for consideration of sediment threshold.
The third type of concept is based on eld measurements in marine environments. Sediment
motion is observed in dierent ways, for example, visually by divers [26], with periodic photographs [2729] and with near-bed light scattering measurements [30]. Threshold is inferred to be
the bed shear stress, at which particle motion is obtained, where the dierence in bed conguration exists in frame-to-frame photographs or where light scattering levels starts to exceed
surrounding levels.
Thus, a number of concepts of sediment threshold have been put forward. The inconsistency of
these dierent concepts leads to widely varying results. In the present analysis, the concept of
sediment threshold is based on the particle mechanics when a top solitary particle of mean diameter is about to dislodge downstream under a unidirectional steady-uniform ow.
2.2. Theories on sediment threshold
Shields [1] was the rst to study the sediment threshold after considering the force acting on the
particle and then applying principles of similarity. His theory was based on the concept of laminar
sub-layer. The laminar sub-layer does not have any eect on the velocity distribution when the
particle Reynolds number is greater than seventy. However, the Shields diagram clearly indicates
that the normalized threshold shear stress still varies with particle Reynolds number when the
latter is greater than seventy. Furthermore, it is not appropriate to use both shear stress and shear
velocity in the Shields diagram as dependent and independent variables, as they are interchangeable. Consequently, the threshold shear stress must be determined through trail and error
method.
White [13] studied the equilibrium of a single particle resting on a granular bed and obtained an
expression for the threshold shear stress neglecting lift force, despite the fact that lift force must be
present. Latter, Kurihara [31] extended the work of White and proposed the empirical equations
for estimation of threshold shear stress.
Iwagaki [14] developed the theory for the equilibrium of a single spherical particle placed on a
rough sand surface and found the conditions necessary for the beginning of particle motion.
However, in practice, this case occurs seldom due to the existence of other particles.
Egiazaro [15] presented yet another derivation for threshold shear stress as a function of
particle Reynolds number. The essential feature of his analysis is the assumption that at threshold
condition, the velocity at an elevation of 0.63 times particle diameter (above the bottom of the
particle) equaling the fall velocity of the particle. The assumption is questionable. Consequently,
his result does not agree quantitatively with the Shields diagram.
Mantz [6] proposed extended Shields diagram for at sedimentary beds for the condition of
maximum stability. Yalin and Karahan [8] developed the graphical presentation of threshold
shear stress versus particle Reynolds number, using a large volume of data collected by various
investigators. It appears that their curve is superior to the more commonly used Shields' curve.
However, the use of shear stress and shear velocity as dependent and independent variables, in
these curves [6,8], makes the threshold shear stress implicit.
Wiberg and Smith [19] derived the expression for threshold shear stress from balancing the
forces on individual particles at the surface of the bed. Their model is also applicable to nonuniform sediments. The lift coecient being 0.2 was used in the analysis, despite the fact that the
existences of negative values of lift force for low values of particle Reynolds number. However,
the spinning mode of particle was not considered. As a result of which, result obtained using their
model deviates from the curves proposed by Shields [1] and Yalin and Karahan [8].

S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

403

Recently, Ling [20] extensively studied the equilibrium of a solitary particle on a sedimentary
bed, considering spinning motion of particle. The model proposed by him has two limits rolling
and lifting. The value of lift coecient was assumed as 1.615, without considering its negative
value. In most of the previous models, the mean ow velocity at the particle level was assumed
either at the center or at an arbitrary level of the particle. Though Ling considered the depthaverage method for the estimation of mean ow velocity received by a solitary particle, the areaaverage method is the accurate one. However, his model is not applicable to non-uniform
sediments.
To improve the existing theories of the sediment threshold, the present model brings in following modications and renements:
A complete three-dimensional structure of bed particles is analyzed.
The Magnus lift is introduced due to slip-spinning mode of dislodging sediment particles.
The model is extensively calibrated making the lift coecient as a free parameter and obtaining the dependency of lift coecient on particle Reynolds number.
Both positive and negative values of the lift force are considered.
The mean velocity received by the frontal area of a particle is determined from the area-average method, considering a virtual bed level.
The model is applicable to uniform and non-uniform sediments.
Diagram is prepared for the direct estimation of the threshold shear stress.
3. Model
3.1. Forces acting on a solitary particle
In a unidirectional steady-uniform ow over a loose sedimentary bed, the most stable threedimensional conguration is that of a spherical solitary sediment particle of diameter D resting
over a closely packed three other spherical particles of identical diameter d forming the sedimentary bed (Fig. 1). Depending on the orientation of the three bed particles with respect to the
direction of ow, the solitary particle tends either to roll over the valley formed by the two
particles or to roll over the summit of a single particle due to the hydro-dynamic force.
The forces acting on the solitary sediment particle are the vertically downward force due to its
submerged weight (FG ) and the hydro-dynamic force, which is a combination of drag force (FD )
and lift force (FL ), as shown in Fig. 1(a). The drag force acts stream-wise, while the lift force is in
the normal direction of ow. When the solitary particle is about to dislodge by the ow, the
equation of moment about the point of contact (M) of the solitary particle downstream is
FD Z FG FL X 0;

where X and Z are the horizontal and vertical lever arms, respectively. The submerged weight of
the particle is given by
p
2
FG D3 qs qg;
6
where qs is the mass density of the sediment, q is the mass density of the owing uid, and g is the
gravitational acceleration.
The drag force, caused by the pressure force and viscous skin frictional resistance, can be
expressed as
p
FD CD D2 qu2m ;
3
8

404

S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

Fig. 1. Denition sketch: (a) Diagrammatic presentation of forces acting on a spherical solitary particle; (b) top view of

a solitary particle resting over three closely packed bed particles; and (c) tetrahedron formed joining the centers of the
four particles.

where CD is the drag coecient, and um is the mean ow velocity received by the frontal area of
the solitary sediment particle. The empirical equation for the drag coecient CD proposed by
Morsi and Alexander [32] was used in this study. It is
CD a bR1 cR2 ;

where R is the ow Reynolds number at particle level ( um D/m), m is the kinematic viscosity of
owing uid, and a, b and c are the coecients dependent on R. The values of a, b and c for
dierent R are given in Morsi and Alexander [32].
In a shear ow, the lift force, caused by the velocity gradient of the owing uid, is termed lift
due to shear eect (FLs ). For a sphere in a viscous ow, Saman [33] derived it as

S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

FLs


0:5
ou
aL qD um m
;
oz
2

405

where aL is the lift coecient, ou/oz is the velocity gradient, and u is the ow velocity at z.
For low Reynolds numbers, the above equation can be applicable. When the velocity of ow
(i.e. Reynolds number) increases gradually, the solitary particle starts spinning into the groove,
formed by the three closely packed bed particles, due to increase in velocity gradient at particle
level. In reality, the solitary particle is in a slip-spinning mode, acquiring an additional lift force
before dislodging it. This type of motion is possible for the case of spherical particles. The experiments of Halow [34] revealed that spherical particles spin and roll, and angular particles slide
in turbulent ow. The lift force, caused by the spinning motion of particle, is termed lift due to
Magnus eect (FLm ). According to Rubinow and Keller [35], it is expressed as
FLm aL qD3 um x;

where x is the angular velocity of spinning particle. Saman [36] reported the maximum angular
velocity achieved by a solitary particle being 0.5 ou/oz. Thus, Eq. (6) is given as
ou
:
7
oz
Saman [36] showed analytically that in viscous ow the lift due to Magnus eect is less than the
lift due to shear eect and may, therefore, be insignicant in the force analysis. But, the magnitude
of the lift coecient aL , later found by Saman [33], has a wide range of variation. Consequently,
the lift due to Magnus eect becomes signicant and remains in the calculation of total lift force.
The total lift force FL , a combined lift due to shear and Magnus eects, is
 0:5 "
 0:5 #
ou
ou
;
8
FL aL qD2 um
m0:5 0:5 sgnR D
oz
oz
FLm 0:5aL qD3 um

where sgnR 1 for R > 1, sgnRp

0 for R 6 1, R is the particle Reynolds number ( u d/m),


u is the threshold shear velocity s=q, and s is the threshold shear stress. It is appropriate to
assume the lift due to Magnus eect being inactive for a viscous ow with R < 1.
3.2. Determination of lever arms (X and Z)
A tetrahedron (OO1 O2 O3 ) is formed joining the centers of the three bed particles and the
solitary particle (Fig. 1(c)). T1 , T2 and T3 are the contact points of the solitary particle with the
three bed particles. Depending on the stream-wise orientation of the bed particles, moment is
usually taken about T2 T3 or T1 . Accordingly the horizontal lever arm (X) is either PS or T1 P.
Thus, one can write
PS

1 D
D 2dD0:5 cos a;
2 Dd

D
sin a:
2
Considering angle a, one gets the trigonometric functions as

0:5
1 3D2 6Dd d 2
;
cos a p
Dd
3
T1 P

9
10

11

406

S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

2
d
sin a p
:
12
3 Dd
Using Eqs. (11) and (12) into Eqs. (9) and (10), respectively, the following equations are obtained:
1
Dd
;
PS p
2 3 Dd

13

1 Dd
T1 P p
:
3 Dd

14

Since the sedimentary bed is formed by a large number of sediment particles, their orientations
with respect to the direction of stream ow are numerous. Therefore, it is appropriate to consider
that an equal distribution of the orientations of bed particles within the said two extreme cases
prevails. It is important to recognize that the horizontal lever arm for any orientation must lie
between PS and T1 P. Thus, the horizontal lever arm X is averaged as
X 0:5T1 P PS k

Dd
;
Dd

15

where k is 0.433.
On the other hand, the vertical lever arm (Z), being independent on the orientation of the bed
particles, is given by
1 D
0:5
D 2dD cos b:
2 Dd
Considering angle b, one gets the trigonometric function as

0:5
1 3D2 6Dd d 2
:
cos b p
D 2dD
3
OP

16

17

Using Eq. (17) into Eq. (16), the vertical lever arm Z ( OP) is obtained as
1
D
Z p
3D2 2Dd d 2 0:5 :
2 3 Dd

18

3.3. Determination of the position of virtual bed level


In the present study, the virtual bed level is considered to be at a depth of nd below the top level
of the bed particles. Here, n is a factor being less than unity. Therefore, the vertical distance d
between the virtual bed level and the bottom level of the solitary sediment particle is
1
d OQ D d nd:
2
From Fig. 1(a), OQ is obtained as
1
OQ D 2dD0:5 cos b:
2
Thus, d is expressed as

19

20

1
1
0:5
21
d p 3D2 2Dd d 2 D d nd:
2
2 3
p
The geometric standard deviation rg ( d84 =d16 ) of the particle size distribution is less than
1.4 for uniform sediments [37]. In this analysis, it was considered as D d50 for uniformly graded

S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

407

sediments. In case of sedimentary beds with non-uniform sediments (rg > 1.4), due to the
process of sediment deposition or armoring, particles having variable diameters prevail in the
upper layers. However, little is known about the armoring of sedimentary beds with uniform
sediments. It is likely, however, that a at bed composed of non-uniform sediment is more
susceptible to armoring than that one of uniform sediment. It follows that the theory of sediment
threshold for at sedimentary beds needs clear information on bed condition in addition to the
ow condition.
3.4. Equation of sediment threshold
Using Eqs. (2), (3), (8), (15) and (18) into Eq. (1), one obtains the equation of sediment
threshold in normalized form as
8pkd^
^s p
;
22
2
^  o^
3pCD u^2m 3 6d^ d^ 0:5 24aL kd^u^m o^
u=o^z2dR
u=o^z0:5 sgnR
where ^s is the normalized threshold shear stress i.e. qu2 /[(qs q)gD], u^m is um =u ; d^ is d/D, u^ is u=u ,
and ^z is z=D.
Eq. (22) is used to calculate the variation of ^s with R , as was given by Shields [1] in his famous
diagram. However, it is not appropriate to use both the variables ^s and R in a single diagram, for
example the Shields diagram, as dependent and independent variables, respectively, owing to the
existence of a common parameter that is threshold shear velocity u . Consequently, u cannot be
determined directly using the diagram; it must be determined through trail and error method. In
order to avoid the diculty, a diagram of ^s versus particle parameter d~ is prepared. Here, d~ is
given by (d/m)[gd(qs q)/q]0:5 . Thus, Eq. (22) is solved to determine the variation of d~ with R , and
then the following equation is used to calculate d~
^ s0:5 :
d~ R d=^

23

4. Determination of u^m and ^


u=^z
Fig. 2(a) shows the frontal view of the solitary particle facing the ow, and Figs. 2(b) and (c)
exhibit the dierent positions of the solitary particle for R < 1 and R P 1. The mean velocity of
ow received by the frontal area of the solitary particle is
f
um
A

Dd
Z

ut dz;

24

where A is the frontal area of the solitary particle exposed to the ow, i.e. (pD2 /4){1
^ + 2(1 2h)[
^ h(1
^ h)]
^ 0:5 }, h^ is h/D, h is e d, f is the coecient being less than
arccos(1 2h)
unity, and e is the normal distance between the bottom level of the solitary particle or zerovelocity level and the virtual bed level. The introduction of f is pertinent here because the
presence of the summits of the bed particles upstream of the solitary particle results in reduction
of the mean velocity of ow. It was found that f 0.5 provided satisfactory agreements between
the experimental data and the model results. The width of the elemental strip (Fig. 2(a)) is given
by
t 2z dD d z0:5 :

25

408

S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

Fig. 2. Flow velocity received by the frontal area of a solitary particle: (a) Frontal view of a solitary particle facing the

ow; (b) positions of a solitary particle for R < 1; and (c) positions of a solitary particle for R P 1.

Using Eq. (25) into Eq. (24), the normalized mean velocity u^m is expressed as
2f
u^m
A^

1
Z ^d

u^^z ^
d1 ^
d ^z0:5 d^z;

26

^e

where A^ is A=D2 , ^
d is d/D, and ^e is e =D. e for dierent ow conditions is given in Figs. 2(b) and (c).

S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

The velocity gradient ou=oz can be determined as follows


Dd
Z
ou
1
ou
uDd ue
:

dz
Dde
oz D d e
oz

409

27

Thus, the normalized velocity gradient ou=oz is expressed as


o^
u u^1^d u^^e
:

o^z 1 ^
d ^e

28

4.1. Flow at R < 1


It is revealed that the ow is hydraulically smooth for R < 5 as the bed roughness is protected
by the laminar sub-layer. Therefore, in the present case, it is safe to assume the velocity prole of
the ow being solely linear for the particle Reynolds number less than unity. Hence, one can
assume the expression for the velocity prole as
u^ zu =m:
Thus, the normalized mean velocity u^m determined from Eq. (26) is
1
Z ^d

^ 
2fdR
u^m
A^

^z^z ^
d1 ^
d ^z

0:5

d^z;

29

30

^e

where ^e 0 if ^
d 6 0, and ^e ^
d if ^
d > 0 [see Fig. 2(b)]. The velocity gradient obtained using
Eq. (28) is
o^
u ^
31
dR :
o^z
4.2. Flow at 1 < R < 70
As the purely rough regime starts from R > 70, the range of R between 1 and 70 can be
considered as transitional regime [38]. The equation of velocity prole proposed by Reichardt [39]
was used here in this regime. The main advantage of using this equation is that it also corresponds
satisfactorily with the velocity proles for R < 1 and R > 70. The equation of the velocity
prole is
1
^  =11:6
^  1 exp^zdR
u^ fln1 k^zdR
k
^  =11:6exp^zdR
^  =3lnk^z0 dR
^  g
^zdR
32
where k is the von Karman constant ( 0.4), z0 is the zero-velocity level above the virtual bed
level being equal to 0.033ks , and ks is the equivalent roughness height of Nikuradse. In this
analysis, ks is assumed to be equal to d, as was done by Wiberg and Smith [19]. The normalized
mean velocity u^m obtained from Eq. (26) is
2f
u^m
k A^

1Z^d

0:5
^  1 exp^zdR
^  =11:6
^z ^
d1 ^
d ^z fln1 k^zdR

^e

^  g d^z;
^  =11:6exp^zdR
^  =3lnk^z0 dR
^zdR
33
where ^e ^z0 if ^z0 ^
d P 0, and ^e ^
d if ^z0 ^d < 0 [see Fig. 2(c)]. The velocity gradient obtained
from Eq. (28) is

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S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

o^
u
1
^  ln1 k^edR
^  g
fln1 k1 ^
ddR

o^z k1 ^
d ^e
1
^  =11:6
^  =11:6 exp^edR

fexp1 ^
ddR
^
^
k1 d e
^  :
^  =11:6exp1 ^ddR
^  =3 ^edR
^  =11:6exp^edR
^  =3glnk^z0 dR
1 ^
ddR

34

4.3. Flow at R > 70


For R > 70, the ow over the sedimentary bed is completely in rough regime, for which the
velocity prole is
u^ 1=klnz=z0 :

35

The normalized mean velocity u^m derived using Eq. (26) is


2f
u^m
k A^

1
Z ^d

^z ^
d1 ^
d ^z0:5 ln^z=^z0 d^z:

36

^e

The velocity gradient is determined from Eq. (28) as


o^
u
1
ln1 ^
d=^e:

o^z k1 ^
d ^e

37

5. Determination of d^
An accurate determination of d^ through the eld measurement of a sedimentary bed is not an
easy task, on which the accuracy of the results produced by the model is dependent to a great
extent. In order to avoid this diculty, d^ is determined indirectly from the knowledge of angle of
repose of the bed sediments using the formula proposed by Ippen and Eagleson [40] for the
spherical sediment particles as
2tan /6tan / 48tan2 / 270:5
d^
;
38
4tan2 / 9
where / is the angle of repose i.e. the angle between the gravity force and the radius to the point of
contact.
6. Model calibration
As in the present state of research, an exact variation of the lift coecient aL with particle
Reynolds number R is not available, the model is required to be calibrated extensively. The
experimental data of sediment threshold reported by Shields [1], Mantz [6], Yalin and Karahan
[8], White [13], Iwagaki [14], USWES [21], Kramer [22], White [24], Gilbert [41], Casey [42],
Vanoni [43], Meyer-Peter and M
uller [44], Neill [45], Grass [46] and Karahan [47] were utilized to
calibrate Eq. (22), making aL as a free parameter. Here, the experimental data of ^s and R were
used as a source data. In this analysis n was taken as 0.25, as was done by van Rijn [48].
Schlichting [38] found that for the same sphere diameter the equivalent roughness ks increases
substantially when the spheres are kept close together. The ratio ks /d varies from 0.2 to 4. Even

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411

though the bed is not as at as Schlichting's, it can be expected a similar behavior to hold good for
the conguration in this study. The ratio ks /d 34 may refer to the cases with considerable
compaction which seldom exists in the elds. Thus, the value of ks /d 1, as was used by Wiberg
and Smith [19] and Ling [20], was taken here as it corresponds to some average situation for loose
beds. Fig. 3 shows the dependency of aL on R . Coleman [16] also analytically showed that the lift
force acts downwards (i.e. negative direction) for R < 15 and upwards for higher values of R .
The negative values of aL for low values of R were also observed by Watters and Rao [49] and
Davies and Samad [50], in conformity with the present results.

Fig. 3. Variation of aL with R .

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S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

7. Computational scheme
The equations developed in the preceding sections were implemented in a computer program
that provided a solution for the condition of sediment threshold. As an input data, the program
^ and R . Based on the developed model, the steps involved for the
requires the values of / (or d)
computations are given below:
1. If / is used as an input data, determine d^ from Eq. (38).
2. Using R , nd out the ow regime. Is R 6 1 or 1 < R < 70 or R P 70?
3. Compute u^m with the aid of the Simpson's rule using Eq. (30) if R 6 1 or Eq. (33) if 1 < R <
70 or Eq. (36) if R P 70.
4. Compute o^
u=o^z using Eq. (31) if R 6 1 or Eq. (34) if 1 < R < 70 or Eq. (37) if R P 70.
5. Evaluate CD from Eq. (4) using R d^u^m R :
6. Determine aL from Fig. 3.
7. Compute ^s using Eq. (22).
8. Compute d~ using Eq. (23).
The above computational scheme produces normalized threshold shear stress ^s and particle
parameter d~ as an output.
8. Results and discussion
Fig. 4 shows the comparison of the curve (^s versus R ) obtained from the present model with
the curves proposed by dierent investigators [1,6,8,14,19,20] for sediment threshold with uniformly graded sediments. The present curve has an excellent agreement with the curve proposed
by Yalin and Karahan [8] and falls within the region of the so-called extended Shields diagram

Fig. 4. Comparison of the curve (^


s versus R ) obtained from the present model with the curves proposed by dierent

investigators for uniform sediments.

S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

413

recommended by Mantz [6]. In this context, it is important to mention that the curve proposed by
Yalin and Karahan [8] and the extended Shields diagram [6] are regarded as the most accurate
curves for the sediment threshold based on the experimental data. On the other hand, the curves
obtained from previous models [14,19,20] have considerable deviation from the said two accurate
curves due to the assumption of a constant positive value of lift coecient aL . In reality, both
positive and negative values of aL exist for R > 1 and R 6 1, respectively. However, the model
proposed by Ling [20] has two limits, namely rolling and lifting, between which the real behavior
occurs. Though the zone within the said two limits is wide, one may t Ling's model to the experimental data by taking a weighted sum of the two limits. Fig. 5 shows that the curve (^s versus
R ) obtained from the present model has an excellent agreement with the experimental data reported by various investigators. The criterion for sediment threshold depends on how tightly the
sedimentary bed is packed, which may vary from no-sphere to tightly packed conditions, and the
direction of stream ow with respect to the bed particles orientations. These are perhaps the
principal reasons for scattering of the experimental data (Fig. 5). Therefore, considering the
above (Figs. 4 and 5), the proposed analytical model presents the accurate mathematical solution
of the sediment threshold. The variation of normalized shear stress ^s with particle Reynolds
number R for dierent angles of repose / is given in Fig. 6. It is revealed that ^s increases with an
increase in /. Here, the range of / is considered to be 25 6 / 6 45, as is commonly available
in the eld conditions. Fig. 7 shows that the experimental data for non-uniform sediments reported by Fisher et al. [51] are grouped into ranges of d^ and are plotted with dierent symbols.
The curves are computed for values of d^ corresponding to the bounding values for the groups. In

Fig. 5. Comparison of the curve (^


s versus R ) obtained from the present model with the experimental data reported by

dierent investigators for uniform sediments.

414

S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

Fig. 6. Variation of ^
s with R for dierent /.

^ obtained from the present model with the experimental


Fig. 7. Comparison of the curves (^
s versus R for dierent d)
data reported by Fisher et al. [51] for non-uniform sediments.

S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

415

Fig. 8. Variation of ^
s with d~ for dierent /.

general, the computed curves do a satisfactory job of separating the symbols into the appropriate
d^ classes, indicating that the present model works well over a wide range of non-uniform sediments. The dependency of ^s on particle parameter d~ for dierent / is presented in Fig. 8 that
enables us to estimate the threshold shear stress directly from the information on sediment size
and angle of repose. The eect of turbulence is not included here. It is believed that the sediment
threshold is sensitive to the uctuating uid forces [5254]. Nevertheless the present model provides us with a satisfactory estimation of threshold shear stress for the initiation of sediment
motion.

9. Conclusions
The threshold of non-cohesive sediment (uniform and non-uniform) motion on a loose horizontal sedimentary bed, under a unidirectional steady-uniform stream ow, has been modeled
analytically using the basic concept of hydro-dynamics and micro-mechanics. The experimental
data reported by various investigators have been used to calibrate the model making the lift
coecient as a free parameter. The computational results obtained using the present model have
been compared with the curves proposed by various investigators. The present curve has corresponded closely with the curve proposed by Yalin and Karahan [8] and has fallen within the
region of extended Shields diagram [6]. The present model has an excellent agreement with the
experimental data of uniform and non-uniform sediments reported by various investigators.
Diagram has been proposed for direct estimation of the threshold shear stress from the information on sediment size and angle of repose. The threshold shear stress increases with an increase
in angle of repose. The present model provides the accurate estimation of the threshold shear
stress for the initiation of bed particle motion.

416

S. Dey / Appl. Math. Modelling 23 (1999) 399417

Acknowledgements
The writer wishes to thank Bimalendu Dey for his advice on the presentation of the manuscript.
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