The dimensions of sand ripples in full-scale oscillatory flows

T. O'Donoghue, J.S. Doucette, J.J. Van Der Werf, J.S. Ribberink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


New large-scale experiments have been carried out in two oscillatory flow tunnels to study ripple regime sand suspension and net sand transport processes in full-scale oscillatory flows. The paper focuses on ripple. dimensions and the new data are combined with existing data to make a large dataset of ripple heights and lengths for flows with field-scale amplitudes and periods. A feature of the new experiments is a focus on the effect of flow irregularity. The combined dataset is analysed to examine the range of hydraulic conditions under which oscillatory flow ripples occur, to examine the effects of flow irregularity and ripple three-dimensionality on ripple dimensions and to test and improve existing methods for predicting ripple dimensions.The following are the main conclusions. (1) The highest velocities in a flow time-series play an important role in determining the type of bedform, occurring in oscillatory flow. Bedform regime is well characterised by mobility number based on maximum velocity in the case of regular flow and based on the mean of the highest one tenth peak velocities in the case of irregular flow. (2) For field-scale flows, sand size is the primary factor determining whether equilibrium ripples will be 2D or 3D. 2D ripples occur when the sand D-50 >= 0.30 mm and 3D ripples occur when D-50
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)997-1012
JournalCoastal Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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