23 Jan 2023
23 Jan 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESurf.

On the use of packing models for the prediction of fluvial sediment porosity

Christoph Rettinger1,2, Mina Tabesh1,3, Ulrich Rüde2,4, Stefan Vollmer1, and Roy M. Frings5 Christoph Rettinger et al.
  • 1Department of Fluvial Morphology, Sediment Dynamics and Management, Federal Institute of Hydrology, Am Mainzer Tor 1, Koblenz, 56068, Germany
  • 2Chair for System Simulation, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Cauerstraße 11, Erlangen, 91052, Germany
  • 3Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, RWTH Aachen University, Mies-van-der-Rohe-Straße 17, Aachen, 52074, Germany
  • 4CERFACS, 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, Toulouse Cedex 1, 31057, France
  • 5Rijkswaterstaat Zuid-Nederland, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Avenue Ceramique 125, Maastricht, 6221 KV, The Netherlands

Abstract. Obtaining accurate porosity information of fluvial sediment deposits is helpful and desirable for many tasks of river engineers. Besides direct measurements of single samples and empirical formulas specialized for specific cases, packing models promise efficient predictions due to their theoretical and extensible foundation. The objective of this work is thus to investigate the usability of three such models in order to obtain a suitable porosity prediction method for the challenging case of fluvial sediment packings. There, the complexity originates from wide continuous size distributions, from silt to gravel, and different grain shapes. We use data obtained from extensive numerical packing simulations to determine the required model parameters and to verify the models' accuracy for moderate size ratios. This study reveals systematic deficits in one of the models which can be attributed to the absence of a built-in mixture packing model. By combining these findings with data from laboratory measurements and extending the model to include cohesive effects, we exemplify for the Rhine River in Germany that reasonable porosity predictions can be obtained with the Compressible Packing Model. Through an additional comparison with data from French rivers, guidelines for a successful prediction in cases with limited prior knowledge of the model parameters are developed. Future model enhancements, of the packing models directly as well as by incorporating more effects that are known to influence porosity, are expected to improve the predictive performance.

Christoph Rettinger et al.

Status: open (until 10 Mar 2023)

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Christoph Rettinger et al.

Christoph Rettinger et al.


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Short summary
Packing models promise efficient and accurate porosity predictions of fluvial sediment deposits. In this study, three packing models were reviewed, calibrated, and validated. Only two of the models were able to handle the continuous and large grain size distributions typically encountered in rivers. We showed that an extension by a cohesion model is necessary, and developed guidelines for successful predictions in different rivers.