Geo-Marine Letters

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 457–474 | Cite as

A computational investigation of the interstitial flow induced by a variably thick blanket of very fine sand covering a coarse sand bed



Blanketed sediment beds can have different bed mobility characteristics relative to those of beds composed of uniform grain-size distribution. Most of the processes that affect bed mobility act in the direct vicinity of the bed or even within the bed itself. To simulate the general conditions of analogue experiments, a high-resolution three-dimensional numerical ‘flume tank’ model was developed using a coupled finite difference method flow model and a discrete element method particle model. The method was applied to investigate the physical processes within blanketed sediment beds under the influence of varying flow velocities. Four suites of simulations, in which a matrix of uniform large grains (600 μm) was blanketed by variably thick layers of small particles (80 μm; blanket layer thickness approx. 80, 350, 500 and 700 μm), were carried out. All beds were subjected to five predefined flow velocities (U1–5=10–30 cm/s). The fluid profiles, relative particle distances and porosity changes within the bed were determined for each configuration. The data show that, as the thickness of the blanket layer increases, increasingly more small particles accumulate in the indentations between the larger particles closest to the surface. This results in decreased porosity and reduced flow into the bed. In addition, with increasing blanket layer thickness, an increasingly larger number of smaller particles are forced into the pore spaces between the larger particles, causing further reduction in porosity. This ultimately causes the interstitial flow, which would normally allow entrainment of particles in the deeper parts of the bed, to decrease to such an extent that the bed is stabilized.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1(PDF 319 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental SciencesUniversity of BremenBremenGermany
  2. 2.Coastal Marine Group, School of ScienceUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

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