The transport of sand in unsteady winds
This work is a study into the unsteady behaviour of aeolian sediment transport. A one-dimensional and a two-dimensional numerical model were developed in order to investigate the temporal behaviour of transport rate as well its spatial distribution. The numerical model of McEwan (1991) for steady state saltation served as a starting point in the development phase. Both models presented in this thesis are capable of simulating temporary varying winds. In addition, the two-dimensional model allows the relaxation of the assumption of streamwise homogeneous flow. The one-dimensional model was tested against results for steady state predicted by previous models. Further tests showed that the discretisation time step size Δt has an influence on the model's temporal behaviour. The reason for this is the better coupling of the wind-sand system when a smaller Δt is used. The implications of bed area choice on the statistical accuracy of predicted transport rate was demonstrated. In the one-dimensional case the grain cloud's total forward momentum equals transport rate, which is independent of model geometry. The initial over-shoot reported by previous investigators was found not to appear for simulation heights small than 50 to 60cm. This is due to the fast propagation of the grains' influence (momentum exchange) upward in the flow and the immediate deceleration of the wind. Confirmation of these findings comes from reports of experiments conducted in differently sized wind tunnels. Different types of wind velocity variations were investigated. The transport rate's response depends on the amplitude and frequency of the wind fluctuations. At frequencies higher than f ≈ 0.5Hz the transport rate was found not to respond to the wind changes.