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  1. Subaqueous vortex ripples in equilibrium are characterized by their unique geometry and dimensions. Motivated by the recent direct numerical simulation study of oscillatory turbulent flow over a wavy bottom by Önder & Yuan ( J. Fluid Mech. , vol. 858, 2019, pp. 264–314), the objective of this study is to further investigate the fluid dynamical controls that determine the distinctive equilibrium dimensions of vortex ripples. We use direct numerical simulations to investigate the differences in flow kinetics between sinusoidal oscillatory flow over equilibrium and out-of-equilibrium vortex ripples. In comparison with the equilibrium case, the spanwise coherent vortices, the averaged bottom shear stress on overlying flow and the shear stress distribution on the ripple surface are identified as the key fluid dynamical controls on equilibrium dimensions. Based on these controls, we propose mechanisms in the selection of vortex ripple dimensions. We observe that the flow adjusts in such a way that the interaction between overlying flow and vortex ripples tends to generate the strongest coherent vortices while the ripple surface (or overlying flow) experiences the smallest shear stress averaged over ripple wavelength during the selection process. Through a triple decomposition of the flow, the component of the ripple-induced fluctuation is found to dictate these fluid dynamical controls, which implies that this component plays an important role in the evolution of vortex ripples. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 10, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  3. The flocculation behavior of clay minerals in aquatic environments is an important process in estuarine and riverine dynamics, where strong gradients in salinity can locally occur. Various contradicting observations have been reported in the literature on the impact of salt concentration on the settling process of cohesive sediments. To address this issue in a systematic manner, we investigate the settling behavior of clay minerals as a function of the salt concentration of the ambient water. Specifically, we focus on montmorillonite as a prototype clay mineral with a high cation exchange capacity (CEC). To this end, we study suspensions of Wyoming bentonite (Volclay SPV) as a very important constituent for many constructional and industrial purposes. We perform an experimental campaign to study the settling behavior of moderately turbid montmorillonite concentrations in monovalent salt solutions with different salinities (sodium chloride) to represent different environments ranging from deionized to ocean water, respectively. The subsequent settling process was monitored by taking pictures by a camera in regular time intervals over a total observation time up to 48 h. In addition, a modified hydrometer analysis is conducted to determine the grain size distribution (in terms of an equivalent diameter) of the flocculated clay suspension in salt water. Despite the rather high cation exchange capacity of the investigated clay (CEC=88.1), our results show that the settling speed drastically increases within a range of 0.6–1.0 PSU and stays approximately constant for higher salinities. This critical salt concentration is defined here as the critical coagulation concentration (CCC) and lies well below the salinity of natural open water bodies. The hydrometer analysis revealed that 60% of the agglomerates exceed the equivalent grain size of 20 μm. Finally, the findings of this study are supplemented with experiments studying the effect of Extracellular Polymeric Substances (EPS) on the flocculation behavior of bentonite in salt water. Our results demonstrate that salinity is the original trigger for flocculation, whereas EPS allows for even larger floc size but it does not play a significant role for the settling processes of bentonite in estuarine environments. 
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    Biophysical cohesive particles in aquatic systems, such as extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) and clay minerals, play an important role in determining the transport of spilled oil contamination and its eventual fate, particularly given that suspended sediment and microbial activities are often prevalent and diverse in natural environments. A series of stirring jar tests have been conducted to understand the multiple structures characteristics of the oil-mineral aggregates (OMAs) and EPS-oil-mineral aggregates (EPS-OMAs). OMAs and EPS-OMAs have been successfully generated in the laboratory within artificial seawater using: Texas crude oil (Dynamic viscosity: 7.27 × 10 –3 Pa⋅s at 20°C), two natural clay minerals (Bentonite and Kaolin clay), and Xanthan gum powder (a proxy of natural EPS). A magnetic stirrer produced a homogeneous turbulent flow with a high turbulence level similar to that under natural breaking waves. High-resolution microscopy results show that EPS, kaolinite, and bentonite lead to distinguished oil floc structures because of the different stickiness character of EPS and mineral clay particles. With relatively low stickiness, kaolinite particles tend to attach to an oil droplets surface (droplet OMAs) and become dominant in small-sized flocs in the mixture sample. In contrast, the more cohesive bentonite particles stickiness could adsorb with oil droplets and are thus dominated by larger sized flocs. Biological EPS, with the highest stickiness, demonstrated that it could bond multiple small oil droplets and form a web structure trapping oil and minerals. Generally, adding EPS leads to flake/solid OMAs formation, and individual oil droplets are rarely observed. The inclusion of ESP within the matrix, also reduced the dependence of settling velocity on floc size and mineral type. 
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  7. Abstract

    Entrainment and suspension of sediment particles with the size distribution similar to a range of natural sands were simulated with a focus on the vertical size sorting and transport dynamics in response to different wave conditions. The simulations were performed using a two‐phase Eulerian‐Lagrangian model by combining the LIGGGHTS discrete element method solver for sediment and SedFoam solver for the fluid phase. The model was first validated for a range of sand grain sizes from 0.21 to 0.97 mm having well‐sorted and mixed (bimodal) size distributions using laboratory oscillatory flow data. Three sediment bed configurations were studied under a wide range of velocity‐skewed waves with different wave intensity and skewness. It was found that the bimodal distribution having only 30% of coarse fraction and 70% of medium fraction responds similar to a well‐sorted coarse sand configuration. Sediment fluxes of the bimodal distribution were slightly higher than those of well‐sorted coarse sand because of the pronounced inverse grading in the bimodal distribution. Furthermore, for the bimodal distribution the medium fraction acted as a relatively smooth foundation underneath the coarse fraction which facilitated the mobilization of the coarser particles. Under high energy wave conditions, the smoothing feature was exacerbated and further caused the formation of plug flow where a thick layer of intense sediment flux was observed. Model results also showed that under high skewness waves, phase‐lag effect occurred in well‐sorted medium sand which caused lower net onshore sediment transport rates but the effect was significantly reduced for mixed sediments.

     
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