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Dam-break flows as agents of sediment transport Open Access


Other title
dam-break, sediment transport, WENO, N-wave
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Emmett, Matthew
Supervisor and department
Moodie, T. Bryant (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Flynn, Morric (Mechanical Engineering)
Bush, Andrew (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Swaters, Gordon (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences)
Sutherland, Bruce (Physics)
Bush, John (Mathematics, MIT)
Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
When a semi-infinite body of homogeneous fluid initially at rest behind a vertical retaining wall is suddenly released by the removal of the barrier the resulting flow over a horizontal or sloping bed is referred to as a dam-break flow. When resistance to the flow is neglected the exact solution, in the case of a stable horizontal bed with or without `tail water', may be obtained on the basis of shallow-water theory via the method of characteristics and the results are well known. Discrepancies between these shallow-water based solutions and experiments have been partially accounted for by the introduction of flow resistance in the form of basal friction. This added friction significantly modifies the wave speed and flow profile near the head of the wave so that the simple exact solutions no longer apply and various asymptotic or numerical approaches must be implemented to solve these frictionally modified depth-averaged shallow-water equations. When the bed is no longer stable so that solid particles may be exchanged between the bed and the water column the dynamics of the flow becomes highly complex as the buoyancy forces vary in space and time according to the competing rates of erosion and deposition. Furthermore, when the Froude number of the flow is close to unity perturbations in the height and velocity profiles grow into N-waves and the bed below develops ripples which act to sustain the N-waves in the fluid above. It is our intention here to study dam-break flows over erodible sloping beds as agents of sediment transport taking into account basal friction as well as the effects of particle concentrations on flow dynamics including both erosion and deposition. We shall consider shallow flows over initially dry beds and investigate the effects of changes in the depositional and erosional models employed as well as in the nature of the drag acting on the flow and the slope of the bed. These models include effects hitherto neglected in such studies and offer insights into the transport of sediment in the worst case scenario of the complete and instantaneous collapse of a dam.
License granted by Matthew Emmett ( on 2010-09-29T21:19:29Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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