Equilibrium hydrodynamics concept for developing dunes

S. E. Coleman, V.I. Nikora, S. R. McLean, T. M. Clunie, T. Schlicke, B. W. Melville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Experiments utilizing two-dimensional fixed dune profiles and varying flow depth (dune regime flows) highlight the equilibrium (self-similar) nature of the near-bed boundary layer over developing dunes with flow separation in the dune lee. The negligible variation in roughness layer (comprising the interfacial and form-induced layers) flow structure for developing dunes was confirmed in terms of spatial fields of time-averaged velocities and stresses; and vertical distributions of: (a) double-averaged (in time and space) longitudinal velocity, (b) double-averaged normal stresses, and (c) the components of the momentum balance for the flow. The finding of an equilibrium nature for the near-bed flow over developing dunes is significant in its centrality to understanding the feedback loop between flow, bed morphology, and sediment transport that controls erodible-bed development. Further research is required into the form of the distribution of double-averaged velocity in the form-induced layer above roughness tops, and also to complete generalization for varying dune steepness of the universal expression for double-averaged longitudinal velocity (varying linearly with elevation) determined herein for the interfacial layer (below roughness tops). Work is presently focusing on the additional effects on flow structure due to sediment transport and three-dimensional flow and bed morphology, although it is expected that the equilibrium boundary layer flow structure patterns identified herein will still be evident for these more complex systems. (c) 2006 American Institute of Physics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105104
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number10
Early online date10 Oct 2006
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


  • 2-2-dimensional bed forms
  • open channel flows
  • turbulence structure
  • sediment transport
  • wave development
  • mean flow
  • rough bed
  • ripples
  • stability


Dive into the research topics of 'Equilibrium hydrodynamics concept for developing dunes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this