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Formation, growth, and failure of debris jams at bridge piers

Formation, growth, and failure of debris jams at bridge piers
Formation, growth, and failure of debris jams at bridge piers
The accumulation of large wood debris around bridge piers obstructs the flow, producing increased upstream water levels, large horizontal structural loadings and flow field modifications that can considerably exacerbate scour. These effects have frequently been held responsible for the failure of a large number of bridges around the world, as well as for increased risk of flooding of adjacent areas. Yet, little is currently known about the time evolution and processes responsible for the formation and growth of these debris piles. This paper is aimed at deciphering the whole life of debris accumulations through an exhaustive set of 570 experiments in which debris elements were individually introduced into a flume and accumulated at a pier model downstream. Our findings show that in all experiments the growth of accumulations is halted at a critical stage, after which the jam is removed from the pier by the flow. This condition typically coincides with the time when the dimensions of the accumulations are maxima. The values of the accumulation maximum size display a strong dependence on flow characteristics and debris length distribution. On the other hand, other variables have shown much weaker effects on the geometry of the accumulations. For a given debris length, accumulations are wide, shallow and long at low flow velocities but become narrower, deeper and shorter with increasing velocities. A comparison of results of accumulations formed with debris of uniform and nonuniform size distributions has revealed that the former can be up to 2.5 times wider than the latter.
0043-1397
1-16
Panici, Diego
2e32ed2c-3d44-46e4-9a4a-e5935050539a
De Almeida, Gustavo
f6edffc1-7bb3-443f-8829-e471b6514a7e
Panici, Diego
2e32ed2c-3d44-46e4-9a4a-e5935050539a
De Almeida, Gustavo
f6edffc1-7bb3-443f-8829-e471b6514a7e

Panici, Diego and De Almeida, Gustavo (2018) Formation, growth, and failure of debris jams at bridge piers. Water Resources Research, 1-16. (doi:10.1029/2017WR022177).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The accumulation of large wood debris around bridge piers obstructs the flow, producing increased upstream water levels, large horizontal structural loadings and flow field modifications that can considerably exacerbate scour. These effects have frequently been held responsible for the failure of a large number of bridges around the world, as well as for increased risk of flooding of adjacent areas. Yet, little is currently known about the time evolution and processes responsible for the formation and growth of these debris piles. This paper is aimed at deciphering the whole life of debris accumulations through an exhaustive set of 570 experiments in which debris elements were individually introduced into a flume and accumulated at a pier model downstream. Our findings show that in all experiments the growth of accumulations is halted at a critical stage, after which the jam is removed from the pier by the flow. This condition typically coincides with the time when the dimensions of the accumulations are maxima. The values of the accumulation maximum size display a strong dependence on flow characteristics and debris length distribution. On the other hand, other variables have shown much weaker effects on the geometry of the accumulations. For a given debris length, accumulations are wide, shallow and long at low flow velocities but become narrower, deeper and shorter with increasing velocities. A comparison of results of accumulations formed with debris of uniform and nonuniform size distributions has revealed that the former can be up to 2.5 times wider than the latter.

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Accepted/In Press date: 10 August 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 24 August 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 423797
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/423797
ISSN: 0043-1397
PURE UUID: b0ec6880-d657-4b33-b509-3132a6f5e9af
ORCID for Diego Panici: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7394-7981
ORCID for Gustavo De Almeida: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3291-3985

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 01 Oct 2018 16:31
Last modified: 03 Dec 2019 01:35

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