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Shear stresses under waves and currents Kingston, Kristopher William


This study set out to investigate the shear stress behaviour at the bed under combined wave and current action. The intention of the study was to make experimental measurements to determine how wave and current shear stresses combine, so that theoretical models describing the combined flow condition could be proposed. Two types of experiment were conducted, and theoretical models for the combined flow were assessed. One set of experiments attempted to use a shear plate to make direct measurements of the combined flow shear stress, and of the shear stresses for the component waves and steady currents. This approach failed because the large correction terms introduced by the non-uniform wave pressure field could not be accurately estimated. The second set of experiments used a laser doppler anemometer to make detailed velocity profile measurements over flat sediment beds. The onset of sediment motion was used as a criterion to carefully control the experiments. It is assumed that the threshold of sediment motion represents a specific shear stress intensity at the bed for sediments of narrow size ranges. As the shear stresses can be determined from the velocity fields under waves and currents, their additive nature under combined flow conditions could be investigated. For each sediment size range, it is shown that the same maximum velocity very near the bed can be used to specify the threshold of sediment motion condition for all flow types, be they under waves, currents, or combined waves and currents. It is also shown that the near-bed velocity under a laboratory wave can be predicted accurately from second order wave theory and that the velocity under a current can be predicted from combining Manning's relation with the universal log velocity law. It is further shown that the near-bed velocity under a combined wave and current can be described by the vectorial addition of the maximum component wave velocity and the average component current velocity. The shear stress for the onset of motion is calculated for the steady current using Manning's relation, for the wave by combining the oscillatory shear stress formula with Kamphuis's rough turbulent friction factor relation, and for the combined wave and current by the simple vectorial addition of the component shear stresses, and is shown to be comparable with Shields's threshold criterion for nearly all conditions tested.

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