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Estuarine mud flocculation properties determined using an annular mini-flume and the LabSFLOC system
Manning, A.J.; Friend, P.L.; Prowse, N.; Amos, C.L. (2007). Estuarine mud flocculation properties determined using an annular mini-flume and the LabSFLOC system. Cont. Shelf Res. 27(8): 1080-1095.
In: Continental Shelf Research. Pergamon Press: Oxford; New York. ISSN 0278-4343, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Cohesive sediments; Flocculation; Settling rate; Marine
Author keywords
    Flocculation; Settling velocity; Cohesive sediment; Annular mini-flume; LabSFLOC

Authors  Top 
  • Manning, A.J., more
  • Friend, P.L.
  • Prowse, N.
  • Amos, C.L.

    Most entrained estuarine sediment mass occurs as flocs. Parameterising flocculation has proven difficult as it is a dynamically active process dependent on a set of complex interactions between the sediment, fluid and the flow. However the natural variability in an estuary makes it difficult to study the factors that influence the behaviour of flocculation in a systematic manner. This paper presents preliminary results from a laboratory study that examined how floc properties of a natural estuarine mud from the Medway (UK), evolved in response to varying levels of suspended sediment concentration and induced turbulent shearing. The experiments utilised the LabSFLOC floc video camera system, in combination with an annular mini-flume to shear the suspended sediment slurries. The flows created in the mini-flume produced average shear stresses, at the floc sampling height, ranging from 0.01 N m−2 to a peak of 1.03 N m−2. Nominal suspended particulate matter concentrations of 100, 600 and 2000 mg l−1 were introduced into the flume. The experimental runs produced individual flocs ranging in size from microflocs of 22.2 μm to macroflocs 583.7 μm in diameter. Average settling velocities ranged from 0.01 to 26.1 mm s−1, whilst floc effective densities varied from 3.5 up to 2000 kg m−3. Low concentration and low shear stress were seen to produce an even distribution of floc mass between the macrofloc (>160 μm) and microfloc (<160 μm) fractions. As both concentration and stress rose, the proportion of macrofloc mass increased, until they represented over 80% of the suspended matter. A maximum average macrofloc settling velocity of 3.3 mm s−1 was attained at a shear stress of 0.45 N m−2. Peak turbulence conditions resulted in deflocculation, limiting the macrofloc fall velocity to only 1.1 mm s−1 and placing over 60% of the mass in the microfloc size range. A statistical analysis of the data suggests that the combined influence of both suspended concentration and turbulent shear controls the settling velocity of the fragile, low density macroflocs.

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