On the determination of the settling flux of cohesive sediments in a turbulent fluid

Abstract : In this paper we compare the settling flux of a cohesive sediment mixture measured in a quiescent fluid with that achieved in a turbulent flow. Experiments were performed in a mixing tank. The turbulence produced mechanically by an oscillating grid maintains a stationary, highly concentrated fluid mud layer in which the concentration is almost uniform. In this layer the turbulence decay with increasing distance from the grid is similar to that obtained in clear water. For steady conditions the settling flux of the fluid mud mixture is balanced by the upward turbulent flux, and its value can be determined from the measured depth of the fluid mud layer. At high concentrations (10–200 g L−1), we show that the settling flux in a turbulent fluid is much larger than estimated in a quiescent fluid (up to two orders of magnitude). Hindering effects in the settling process of cohesive sediments may thus be considerably reduced by turbulence.
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Nicolas Gratiot, Hervé Michallet, Mathieu Mory. On the determination of the settling flux of cohesive sediments in a turbulent fluid. Journal of Geophysical Research. Oceans, Wiley-Blackwell, 2005, 110 (C6), pp.C06004. ⟨10.1029/2004JC002732⟩. ⟨hal-00260292⟩

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