2018 CSDMS meeting-125

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A simple, single-size and time-dependent flocculation model

Kyle Strom, Virginia Tech Blacksburg Virginia, United States. strom@vt.edu


Kuprenas CSDMS POSTER May2018.png

The accuracy of sediment transport models depends heavily on the selection of an appropriate sediment settling velocity. Determining this value for mud suspensions can be difficult because the cohesive particles within the mud can aggregate to form flocs whose sizes are a function of hydrodynamic and physiochemical conditions of the suspension. Here we present a new model for predicting floc size in a dynamic way as a function of the hydrodynamic conditions and inherited floc sizes. The new model is a simple modification to the existing Winterwerp (1998) floc size model. The modification is significant in that it yields predictions that are more inline with observations and theory regarding the upper limit on ultimate floc size. The modification we propose is to make the ratio of the applied stress on a floc over the strength of the floc a function of the floc size relative to the Kolmogorov microscale. The outcome of this modification is that flocs are not allowed to surpass the Kolmogorov microscale in size and that calibrated aggregation and breakup coefficients obtained at one suspended sediment concentration can be used to predict floc size under other concentration values without recalibration of the coefficients. In this paper, we present the motivation for the modification, the functionality of the modification, and a comparison of the updated model with laboratory and field data. Overall the model shows promise as a tool that could be incorporated into larger hydrodynamic and sediment transport models for improved prediction of cohesive mud transport.