Dynamics of particle clouds in ambient currents with application to open-water sediment disposal
Gensheimer, Robert James.
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Open-water sediment disposal is used in many applications around the world, including land reclamation, dredging, and contaminated sediment isolation. Timely examples include the land reclamation campaign currently underway in Singapore and the Boston Harbor Navigation Improvement Project. Both of these projects required the precise dumping of millions of cubic meters of purchased sediment, in the former example, and dredged material (both clean and contaminated), in the latter example. This shows the significant economic and environmental interests in the accurate placement of sediment, which requires knowledge of how particle clouds behave in ambient currents. Flow visualization experiments were performed in a glass-walled recirculating water channel to model open-water sediment disposal by releasing particles quasi-instantaneously into the channel with ambient currents. For releases at the surface, criteria were developed to characterize ambient currents as weak, transitional, or strong as a function of particle size. In weak ambient currents, particle clouds advected downstream with a velocity equal to the ambient current, but otherwise the behavior and structure was similar to that in quiescent conditions. The parent cloud's entrainment coefficient (alpha) increased with decreasing particle size and elevation above the water surface, between values of 0.10 and 0.72, but for most experiments, the range was less significant (0.11 to 0.24). A substantial portion of the mass initially released, up to 30%, was not incorporated into the parent cloud and formed the trailing stem. This was also heavily dependent on the initial release variables, with the greatest sensitivity on particle size. The loss of sediment during descent, defined as the fraction of mass missing a designated target with a radius equal to the water depth, was quantified and found to increase sharply with current speed.
CIVINS (Civilian Institutions) Thesis documentApproved for public release ; distribution is unlimited
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