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Generalized Shields criterion for weakly cohesive granular materials

Abstract : The erosion of natural sediments by a superficial fluid flow is a generic situation in many usual geological or industrial contexts. However, there is still a lack of fundamental knowledge about erosional processes, especially concerning the role of internal cohesion and adhesive stresses on issues such as the critical flow conditions for the erosion onset or the kinetics of soil mass loss. This contribution investigates the influence of cohesion on the surface erosion by an impinging jet flow based on laboratory tests with artificially bondedgranular materials. The model samples are made of spherical glass beads bonded either bysolid bridges made of resin or by liquid bridges made of a highly viscous oil. To quantify the intergranular cohesion, the capillary forces of the liquid bridges are here estimated by measuring their main geometrical parameters with image-processing techniques and using well-known analytical expressions. For the solid bonds, the adhesive strength of the materials is estimated by direct measurement of the yield tensile forces and stresses at the particle and sample scales, respectively, with specific traction tests developed for this purpose. The proper erosion tests are then carried out in an optically adapted device that permits a direct visualization of the scouring process at the jet apex by means of the refractive index matching technique. On this basis, the article qualitatively examines the kinetics of the scour crater excavation for both scenarios, namely, for an intergranular cohesion induced by either liquid or solid bonds. From a quantitative perspective, the critical condition for the erosion onset is discussed specifically for the case of the solid bond cohesion. In this respect, we propose here a generalized form of the Shields criterion based on a common definition of a cohesion number from yield tensile values, derived at both micro- and macro scales. The article finally shows that the proposed form manages to reconcile the experimental data for cohesive and cohesionless materials, the latter in the form of the so-called Shields curve along with some previous results of the authors which have been appropriately revisited.
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Contributor : Pierre Philippe <>
Submitted on : Friday, April 23, 2021 - 10:40:26 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 10:45:28 AM


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Florian Brunier-Coulin, Pablo Cuellar, Pierre Philippe. Generalized Shields criterion for weakly cohesive granular materials. Physical Review Fluids, American Physical Society, 2020, 5 (3), ⟨10.1103/PhysRevFluids.5.034308⟩. ⟨hal-02924744⟩



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