Environmental Fluid Mechanics

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 183–202 | Cite as

Idealized study on cohesive sediment flux by tidal asymmetry

  • Minwoo SonEmail author
  • Tian-Jian Hsu
Original Article


The flux of cohesive sediment in an estuary is determined by many factors, including tidal asymmetry, wave effect, fluvial influence, phase difference between tidal velocity and tidal level fluctuations, sediment properties, flocculation, bed erodibility, bathymetry effect and other nonlocal effects. Our capability in predicting sediment fluxes in tide-dominant environments is critical to the morphodynamics and water quality of estuaries. Due to the difficulties in carrying out detailed measurement of sediment flux with high spatial and temporal resolutions, an one-dimensional-vertical (1DV) numerical model for cohesive sediment transport, previously verified and calibrated with field measured cohesive sediment concentration data, is utilized here to study some of the aforementioned factors in affecting tidal-driven sediment fluxes in idealized condition. Tidal-averaged sediment flux is shown to be correlated with tidal velocity skewness with a linear relationship. This linear relationship is different from that of non-cohesive sediment and it is demonstrated here to be mainly due to variable critical shear stress implemented for the mud bed in order to parameterize consolidation. The reason that tidal velocity skewness causes tidal-averaged residual sediment transport is shown to be due to nonlinear intra-tidal interactions between flow velocity and sediment concentration. Moreover, the effects of nonlinear intra-tidal interaction between tidal velocity and tidal level fluctuations is shown to mainly cause seaward transport, which is the most significant under progressive wave system (phase difference 90°) and almost negligible for standing wave system (phase difference 0°).


Cohesive sediment Sediment flux Tidal asymmetry Flocculation Erodibility 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Delaware, Center for Applied Coastal ResearchNewarkUSA

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