American Society of Civil Engineers

Unified View of Sediment Transport by Currents and Waves. I: Initiation of Motion, Bed Roughness, and Bed-Load Transport

by Leo C. van Rijn, (Prof., Delft Hydr. and Univ. of Utrecht, P.O. Box 177, Delft 2600 MH, The Netherlands. E-mail:

Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 133, No. 6, June 2007, pp. 649-667, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Attention is given to the properties of sediment beds over the full range of conditions (silts to gravel), in particular the effect of fine silt on the bed composition and on initiation of motion (critical conditions) is discussed. High-quality bed-load transport data sets are identified and analyzed, showing that the bed-load transport in the sand range is related to velocity to power 2.5. The bed-load transport is not much affected by particle size. The prediction of bed roughness is addressed and the prediction of bed-load transport in steady river flow is extended to coastal flow applying an intrawave approach. Simplified bed-load transport formulas are presented, which can be used to obtain a quick estimate of bed-load transport in river and coastal flows. It is shown that the sediment transport of fine silts to coarse sand can be described in a unified model framework using fairly simple expressions. The proposed model is fully predictive in the sense that only the basic hydrodynamic parameters (depth, current velocity, wave height, wave period, etc.) and the basic sediment characteristics (d10, d50, d90, water temperature, and salinity) need to be known. The prediction of the effective bed roughness is an integral part of the model.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Bed loads
Bed roughness
Sediment transport