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Erosion of mud/sand mixtures
Williamson, H.; Torfs, H. (1996). Erosion of mud/sand mixtures. : 1-25

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  • Williamson, H.
  • Torfs, H.

    The prediction of sediment erosion is an important issue in coastal engineering projects. There are methods for predicting the erosion of cohesive sediment (mud) and non-cohesive sediment (sand), but there are presently no relationships for mixed sediments. However, natural sediments rarely consist of only mud or sand and the erosional properties of combined mud and sand sediments are required so that the whole spectrum of natural sediment size combinations can be modelled. This paper attempts to characterise the erosion behaviour of mixed sediments in a way that can be used for predictive models. In this paper mud (or fines) is defined as clays and silts, which pass through a sieve of size 62.5 μm, and sand is defined as the fraction retained. The collaboration between European researchers in the framework of the MAST G8M project has resulted in the accumulation of an extensive amount of data on the erosion of mud/sand mixtures. The data, which originate from both laboratory and field experiments, has been used to examine the physical processes behind the erosion behaviour of mud/sand mixtures. It was found that adding sand to mud, or vice versa, increases the erosion resistance and reduces the erosion rates when the critical shear stress for erosion is exceeded. The highest values for the erosion shear stress of homogeneously mixed beds occurs at a maximum in the region 30 to 50% sand by weight. The most significant effect on erosion resistance occurs on the addition small percentages of mud by weight to sand. The mode of erosion also changes from cohesionless to cohesive behaviour at low mud contents added to sand, with a transition occurring in the region 3% to 15% mud by weight. The erosional properties are also strongly dependent on the history of the bed and it is common that mud and sand segregate under typical deposition conditions owing to their different settling velocities in water which creates discrete layers. The erosion of these segregated beds should thus be modelled as a sequence of mud and sand erosion “events”.

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