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Title: Mangrove roots model suggest an optimal porosity to prevent erosion
Abstract Mangrove swamps are extremely productive ecosystems providing many ecological services in coastal regions. The hydrodynamic interactions of mangrove roots and water flow have been proposed as a key element to mitigate erosion. Several studies reveal that precise prediction of the morphological evolution of coastal areas, in the face of global warming and the consequent sea-level rise, requires an understanding of interactions between root porosity (the fraction of the volume of void space over the total volume), water flows, and sediment transport. Water flows around the mangrove prop roots create a complex energetic process that mixes up sediments and generates a depositional region posterior to the roots. In this work, we investigated the boundary layer behind permeable arrays of cylinders (patch) that represent the mangrove roots to explore the impact of patch porosity on the onset of sediment transport. The flow measurements were performed in a vertical plane along the water depth downstream of the mangrove root models. A high-resolution Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) was used in a flume to observe the impact of porosity on the mean flow, velocity derivatives, skin friction coefficient, and production of turbulent kinetic energy for Reynolds number of 2500 (based on patch diameter length-scale). Here, we proposed a predictive model for critical velocity for incipient motion that takes into account the mangrove roots porosity and the near-bed turbulence effect. It is found that the patch with the $$\phi =47\%$$ ϕ = 47 % porosity, has the maximum critical velocity over which the sediment transport initiates. We found the optimum porosity has the minimum sediment erosion and creates negative vorticity sources near the bed that increases the critical velocity. This signifies an optimum porosity for the onset of sediment transport consistent with the porosity of mangroves in nature. The phenomenological model is elucidated based on an analysis of the vorticity evolution equation for viscous incompressible flows. For the optimum porous patch, a sink of vorticity was formed which yielded to lower the near-bed turbulence and vorticity. The minimum velocity fluctuations were sufficient to initiate the boundary layer transition, however, the viscous dissipation dominated the turbulence production to obstruct the sediment transport. This work identified the pivotal role of mangrove root porosity in sediment transport in terms of velocity and its derivatives in wall-bounded flows. Our work also provides insight into the sediment transport and erosion processes that govern the evolution of the shapes of shorelines.  more » « less
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Scientific Reports
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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