Comprehensive field study of swash-zone processes, part 2: Sheet flow sediment concentrations during quasi-steady backwash

Thijs Lanckriet, Jack A. Puleo, Gerd Masselink, Ian L. Turner, Daniel Conley, C Blenkinsopp, Paul Russell

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Sheet flow sediment concentration profiles were measured in natural conditions for the first time as part of a comprehensive field study on swash-zone hydrodynamics and sediment transport. Three conductivity concentration profilers (CCPs) measured the sediment concentration profile in the sheet flow layer with a 1-mm resolution in the swash zone of a dissipative beach. This paper focuses on sheet flow during quasi-steady backwash events generated by infragravity motion when the effects of phase lags, surface-generated turbulence, and accelerations are small. The sheet flow sediment concentration profile has a linear shape in the lower section of the profile and a power-law shape in the upper section, with the transition occurring at sediment volume fractions of 0.20-0.30. The shape of the concentration profile is self-similar for measured sheet flow layer thicknesses ranging from 6 to 18 mm. Because of the self-similarity, a single concentration profile curve can be used to describe the normalized profile for the entire range of sheet thicknesses, leading to improved estimates of the sheet flow layer thickness in a simple analytical model. The sheet flow layer thickness and sheet load, the sediment mass mobilized in the sheet flow layer, are well correlated with the hydrodynamic forcing represented by the mobility number (r2 50:60 for sheet thickness and r2 50:53 for sheet load)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-42
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, and Ocean Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


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