debris flow

Flow behavior of sediment-water mixtures in a rotating drum

These experiments report of basal normal stress and fluid pressure, as well as vertical velcity profiles of different sediment-water mixtures in a rotating drum. The experiments were conducted in the vertically rotating drum at Richmond field station of UC Berkeley.


Conveyor belt flume

Conveyor belt flume for creating recirculating steady state flows.

Geometry: length = 2.5 m, channel width = 0.12 m, inclination range between 0° and 30°

Typical sample volume ~ 4-8 litres



Vertically rotating drum for steady state experiments

Geometry: diameter = 2.46 m, channel width = 0.45 m, max. flow height = 0.4 m

Typical sample volume ~ 30 - 40 litres

Small scale debris flow experimental setup


Small scale debris flow experimental setup — Equipment, Method (and Data soon)


The flume is a simplification of the design presented by de Haas et al. (2015), who measured sediment sorting and debris flow runout in a scaled down setting. 

There are two components:

sedimentexp's picture

Scaling up debris-flow experiments on a centrifuge

Boundary forces generated by debris flows can be powerful enough to erode bedrock and cause considerable damage to infrastructure during runout. Formulation of an erosion-rate law for debris flows is therefore a high priority, and it makes sense to build such a law around laboratory experiments.  We scale up granular impact forces by running our experiments under enhanced gravity in a geotechnical centrifuge. Using a 40cm-diameter rotating drum spun at up to 100g, we generate debris flows with an effective depth of over several meters.