Size graded sediment dynamics: from the processes characterization to the transport modelling in the English Channel

PhD thesis of Olivier Blanpain (University of Rouen) defended on 16/10/2009

Supervisors: Robert Lafite, Pascal Bailly du Bois, Philippe Cugier


The purpose of this work is the implementation of a sediment transport model in the English Channel. The design of such a model requires the identification of the physical processes, their modelling and their in-situ validation. Because of the sedimentary particularities of the study area, modelling of the mechanical behaviour of a non uniform mixture of sediments and particularly of the fine grains within a coarse matrix is required. This study focused on the characterization of the relevant processes by acquisition of experimental and in-situ data.

Data acquired in hydro-sedimentary conditions comparable to those found in the English Channel are scarce. A new instrument and image processing technique were specifically conceived and implemented in-situ to observe and measure, with a high temporal resolution, the dynamics of a strongly heterogeneous mixture of particles in a grain-size scale. The data collected compared well with several existing formulations. One of these formulations was chosen to be adapted. The transfer dynamics of fine grains in coarse sediments and their depth of penetration were acquired from stratigraphic samples.
The sediment transport model deals with multisize grains and multi sedimentary layers, it is forced by swell and currents, and accounts for beadload and suspended load transports. It was applied to realistic scenarios for the English Channel.


Funding: Ifremer, IRSN

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