Fall Velocity of Shells as Coastal Sediment

by Ashish J. Mehta, (A.M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. of Coastal and Oceanographic Engrg.; Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.,
Bent A. Christensen, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.,
Jieh Lee, Grad. Asst.; Massachusetts Inst. of Tech., Cambridge, Mass.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 11, Pg. 1727-1744

Document Type: Journal Paper


The fall velocity of three common types of bivalve shells has been measured in quiescent water. The results are presented in terms of the drag coefficient as a function of the Reynolds number and a shape parameter. For the range of shell size utilized in the study, the drag coefficient has been found to be nearly independent of the Reynolds number and is shown to be contingent upon the shape parameter and the mode of settling. Two modes of settling, namely, stable and unstable, have been identified. Comparison of the results with reanalyzed data on other irregular shaped particles and thin discs indicates a reasonable agreement, and attests to the applicability of the shape parameter in characterizing the fall velocity of bivalve shells found in coastal sediments.

Subject Headings: Parameters (statistics) | Fluid velocity | Coastal environment | Sediment | Particle velocity | Drag (fluid dynamics) | Reynolds number | Comparative studies

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