Experimental study of scouring of cohesive sediments caused by free fall jets

Document Type : Research Article


1 Tarbiat Modarres

2 Tarbiat Modares University


Most of the times, flow passing above, through or below hydraulic structures is in the form of jets, which can cause downstream soil material erosion. When the amount of clay in soil materials is more than 10%, they can be considered as cohesive soils.
If the results of cohesionless sediment research are generalized to cohesive sediments, the scour values obtained will be more or less than the actual values. On the other hand, there are no specific conversion ratios to estimate the characteristics and temporal changes of the scouring of cohesive sediments from cohesionless sediments. The duration of reaching maximum scour depth in cohesive sediments has shown to be longer than that of cohesionless ones.
Previous works on cohesive sediments are often performed on flumes or by using a submerged vertical jet device. However, the jets formed below the hydraulic structures are mostly horizontal or oblique which are examined in this paper.
Based on dimensional analysis, it was determined that the parameters of nozzle diameter, jet drop height, jet angle, jet velocity, tailwater depth, fluid density, dynamic fluid viscosity, critical shear stress and gravity acceleration affect the scour of cohesive sediments caused by the jet which is studied here.
Experiments were carried out at the Hydraulic Lab of Tarbiat Modares University in a rectangular flume 0.6 m wide and 0.6 m high. A 0.2 m deep hole is created on the floor to place cohesive sediments. The laboratory channel is equipped with a 2m3 inlet tank, from which water is pumped into the jet tube. Froude numbers 3, 5, 7, and 9 are established based on common hydraulic structures and previous works.
The experiments were performed using horizontal, oblique and vertical jets using tubes with nozzle diameters of 10, 15, 20 and 25 mm and with 3 tailwater depths of 5, 10 and 15 cm and 3 jet drop heights of 20, 50 and 60 cm. The cohesive sediments used were produced from a combination of fine sand with clay (including kaolin and bentonite at a ratio of 3 to 1). The amount of clay was considered to be 20% by weight of the total soil based on natural soils and previous works.
Prior to the start of tests, tailwater was established on the sediment layer in order to allow it to saturate. After reaching equilibrium in the experiments, water was completely drained from the channel and the scouring hole and bed profiles were extracted by a laser distance meter device.
Results and Discussion
Erosion of cohesive sediments has the greatest scouring potential in the initial stage and in the later stages, the sediment bed becomes rougher and its resistance to scouring increases until equilibrium establishes.
A sedimentary ridge is formed at the end of the scouring hole by horizontal and oblique jets and around the scouring hole by vertical jets. In horizontal and oblique jets, the maximum scour depth does not necessarily form on the centerline. The growth of the length and width of scouring hole stops almost simultaneously, but deepening of it continues after that. This is in accordance with findings of Mazurek et al. (2001), Ansari et al. (2002), and Mazurek et al. (2003).
As the jet height rises, the time it takes to reach equilibrium increases and leads to maximum scouring occur at a greater distance from the jet nozzle. In horizontal jets, the location of the maximum scouring depth shifts in the early stages of scouring but stabilizes after approximately 2 hours. Increased shear stress due to jet flow increases the scouring rate.
Increasing the ratio of tailwater depth to jet drop height (Yt / H) has a dual effect on the maximum relative scour depth. So that the maximum relative scour depth first increases with increasing Yt / H to about 0.3 for horizontal jets and about 0.35 for vertical jets, then the trend reversed and with increasing Yt / H ratio the scour rate relatively reduced.
Increasing the Froude number increases the amount of scouring. Also, the amount of scouring at two angles of 0 and 30 degrees relative to the horizon, are very close to each other. At larger angles, except for the 90 degree angle, the scour depth increases as the jet angle increases. The 45 degree angle jet creates the maximum scouring depth.
As the jet height rises, the time it takes for the scouring to reach equilibrium increases. It also leads to maximum scouring to occur at a greater distance from the jet nozzle. Increasing shear stress by jet flow, increases the scouring rate.
At lower values of Yt/H, with increasing this ratio, the maximum scour depth increases until it reaches the maximum value and then. the trend reverses.
By increasing Froude number, scour rate increases. By steepening jet angle, the scour depth almost increases but when the jet becomes vertical, lower scour depths are observed.


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  • Receive Date: 19 July 2021
  • Revise Date: 22 October 2021
  • Accept Date: 16 January 2022
  • First Publish Date: 16 January 2022