Articles | Volume 10, issue 5
28 May 2010
 | 28 May 2010

An expression for the water-sediment moving layer in unsteady flows valid for open channels and embankments

A. M. Berta and G. Bianco

Abstract. During the floods, the effects of sediment transport in river beds are particulary significant and can be studied through the evolution of the water-sediment layer which moves in the lower part of a flow, named "moving layer". Moving layer variations along rivers lead to depositions and erosions and are typically unsteady, but are often tackled with expressions developed for steady (equilibrium) conditions. In this paper, we develop an expression for the moving layer in unsteady conditions and calibrate it with experimental data. During laboratory tests, we have in fact reproduced a rapidly changing unsteady flow by the erosion of a granular steep slope. Results have shown a clear tendency of the moving layer, for fixed discharges, toward equilibrium conditions. Knowing the equilibrium achievement has presented many difficulties, being influenced by the choice of the equilibrium expression and moreover by the estimation of the parameters involved (for example friction angle). Since we used only data relevant to hyper-concentrated mono-dimensional flows for the calibration – occurring for slope gradients in the range 0.03–0.20 – our model can be applied both on open channels and on embankments/dams, providing that the flows can be modelled as mono-dimensional, and that slopes and applied shear stress levels fall within the considered ranges.