Incipient sediment transport for non-cohesive landforms by the discrete element method (DEM)

Autores UPV
Revista Applied Mathematical Modelling


We introduce a numerical method for incipient sediment transport past bedforms. The approach is based on the discrete element method (DEM) [1], simulating the micro-mechanics of the landform as an aggregate of rigid spheres interacting by contact and friction. A continuous finite element approximation [2] predicts the boundary shear stress field due to the fluid flow, resulting in drag and lift forces acting over the particles. Numerical experiments verify the method by reproducing results by Shields [3] and other authors for the initiation of motion of a single grain. A series of experiments for sediments with varying compacity and constituting piles yields enhanced relationships between threshold shear stress and friction Reynolds number, to define incipient sediment transport criterion for flows over small-scale bed morphologies.