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Title: Physical and computation modelling of turbidity currents : the role of turbulence-particles interactions and interfacial forces
Author: Yam, Ke San
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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Experimental and numerical investigations have been conducted in order to evaluate the accuracy of the Mixture Model, a depth-resolved and time-averaged multiphase numerical model, in predicting the behaviour of dilute surge-type turbidity currents. The effects of turbulent dispersion and turbulence modulation upon sediment transport within turbidity currents are directly modelled via their incorporation into the Mixture Model. Modelled predictions of flow front propagation and deposit density are compared against both experimental data and refined two-fluids model from previous studies. When modelled using the formulation of Chen & Wood (1985), turbulence modulation does not affect on the propagation of dilute turbidity currents significantly. Turbulent dispersion can be modelled by incorporating the formulation of Simonin (1991) into the slip equation of the Mixture Model. Its effect is strongest in dilute flows carrying fine particles and diminishes when either grain size or flow concentration increases. Modelled turbulent dispersion effects are too strong in simulations of flows carrying silicon carbide particles; Mixture Model simulations agree poorly with both experimental data or refined two-fluids model results of the deposit mass profile. Yet turbulent dispersion is essential to ensure that model predictions of flows carrying glass beads compare well with experimental data. The reasons for the discrepancy between modelling approaches best suited to each of these flow types remains poorly understood. A new analytical approach is developed to evaluate the effect of the lift force on particles of small, intermediate and large particle Reynolds number immersed in two-dimensional shear flows. The lift force always reduces the magnitude of the particle settling velocity and may push particles forward or backward, depending on the sign of both the lift coefficient and the flow vorticity. Given plausible velocity profiles within natural turbidity currents, the effect of lift force on the sand-like particles immersed in such turbidity currents is negligible. It may become significant when the ratio of the particle density to the flow density approaches unity. New experiments are presented for flows over the flow concentration range 0.25 – 5% and grain size range 58 - 115μm. The data are used to facilitate a more complete validation of the Mixture Model, based on flow front propagation rates, deposit mass density and deposit grain characteristics. Modelling results for first two variables are in good agreement with the experimental data, when turbulent dispersion effects are incorporated. For reasons which remain unclear, the model cannot simulate the unexpected experimental result that deposit grain size is largely unfractionated if the standard deviation of the source material is less than 11 but significantly fractionated if it exceeds 18. This discrepancy requires further work.
Supervisor: McCaffrey, Bill ; Ingham, Derek ; Burns, Alan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available