Uniform and graded bed-load sediment transport in a degrading channel with non-equilibrium conditions

Khabat Khosravi, Amir H. N. Chegini, James R. Cooper, Prasad Daggupati, Andrew Binns, Luca Mao

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8 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


Bed-load transport plays a critical role in river morphological change and has an important impact on river ecology. Although there is good understanding of the role of the variation of river bed grain size on transport dynamics in equilibrium conditions, much less is understood for non-equilibrium conditions when the channel is either aggrading or degrading. In particular, the relative role of different grain sizes in the promotion and hindering of the transport of coarse and fine fractions in a degrading channel has yet to be investigated. The current study attempts to provide new understanding through a series of flume experiments done using uniform and graded sediment particles. The experiments revealed coarser grain-size fractions for a poorly-sorted sediment, relative to uniform-sized sediment, reduced the transport of finer grains and finer fractions enhanced the transport of coarse grains. This hindering-promotion effect, caused by relative hiding and exposure of finer and coarse fractions, increased with bed slope and decreased with relative submergence. In particular, as relative submergence increased, the graded fractions tended towards behaving more like their uniform-sized counterparts. Also, the bed-load parameter of the graded fractions increased more with a rise in bed slope than observed for the uniform-sized counterparts. These results revealed, for degrading channel conditions, such as downstream of a dam, bed-load equations developed for uniform bed sediment are inappropriate for use in natural river systems, particularly in mountain streams. Furthermore, changes in river bed composition due to activities that enhance the input of hill-slope sediment, such as fire, logging, and agricultural development, are likely to cause significant changes in river morphology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Sediment Research
Issue number2
Early online date31 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Exposure
  • Flume experiments
  • Graded sediment
  • Hiding
  • Non-equilibrium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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