Sediment transport

People involved
Francesco Ballio (Full Professor)
Silvio Franzetti (Full Professor, retired)
Alessio Radice (Associate Professor)

Research activities

Fundamental studies of sediment transport mechanisms are performed at different scales. 

At a grain scale, the research line focuses onto single-particle trajectories (Lagrangian approach) or onto the
process kinematics using areas of inspection comprehending several particles (Eulerian approach).
Conceptual links between the Lagrangian and Eulerian analyses are explored. Laboratory data furnish
statistics of particle motion that are used for phenomenological interpretation of the process scaling
properties and particle dispersion.

Image-based measurement of the particle kinematics is also performed within local erosion holes, during
laboratory investigations of bridge scour processes. The spatial and temporal variability of the key properties
of sediment motion patterns (concentration and velocity of moving sediment, sediment motion lines) is
investigated and compared to expectations based on the fluid flow structure.

Reach-scale hydro-morphologic experiments are performed to measure, interpret and model the
propagation of sediment fronts in a channel with non-equilibrium sediment transport conditions. This
research is prototypal to investigating the impact of external sediment sources on rivers.

Trajectories of dispersing particles in a laboratory experiments with weak bed-load transport.

Sediment motion patter around a circular bridge pier.

A hydro-morphologic experiment with migration of an aggrading sediment front in a subcritical flow.

Most relevant publications

Ballio F., Pokrajac D., Radice A., Hosseini Sadabadi S.A. (2018). Lagrangian and Eulerian description of
sediment transport. Journal of Gephysical Research: Earth Surface, 123.
Radice A., Sarkar S., Ballio F. (2017). Image-based Lagrangian particle tracking in bed-load experiments.
Journal of Visualized Experiments, 125, e55874, §
Campagnol J., Radice A., Ballio F., Nikora V. (2015). Particle motion and diffusion at weak bed load: accounting
for unsteadiness effects of entrainment and disentrainment. Journal of Hydraulic Research, 53, 633-648.
Radice A., Porta G., Franzetti S. (2009). Analysis of the time-averaged properties of sediment motion in a local
scour process. Water Resources Research, 45, W03401.
Radice A., Ballio F., Nikora V. (2009). On statistical properties of bed load sediment concentration.
Water Resources Research, 45, W06501.