Bedload transport in rivers: size matters but so does shape!

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. This is version 4 of this Preprint.


Download Preprint


Mathieu Cassel, Jérôme Lavé, Alain Recking, Jean-René Malavoi, Hervé Piégay


Bedload transport modelling in rivers, which defines the threshold for pebble movement, takes into account the size and density of pebbles, but does not formally consider particle shape. The lack of analyses evaluating the influences of shape and density on particle mobility presents a major deficiency. To address this issue and to compare the relative roles of the density and shape of particles, we performed original sediment transport experiments in an annular flume using molded artificial pebbles equipped with a radio frequency identification tracking system. The particles were designed with four distinct shapes and four different densities while having the same volume, and their speeds and distances traveled under constant hydraulic conditions were analyzed. The results show that particle shape has more influence than particle density on the resting time between particle displacement and the mean traveling distance. For all densities investigated, the particle shape systematically induced differences in travel distance that were strongly correlated (R² = 0.94) with the Sneed and Folks shape index. Such shape influences, although often mentioned, are here quantified for the first time, demonstrating why and how they can be included in bedload transport models.S



Earth Sciences, Geomorphology, Hydrology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Sedimentology


Bedload transport modelling, Particle shape, Pebble density, RFID, Sediment tracking, Sphericity


Published: 2020-08-16 21:36

Last Updated: 2021-09-06 10:18

Older Versions

GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.