Wear due to sediment particles in fluid flows, also termed ‘hydroabrasion’ or simply ‘abrasion’, is an omnipresent issue at hydraulic structures as well as in bedrock rivers. However, interactions between flow field, particle motion, channel topography, material properties and abrasion have rarely been investigated on a prototype scale, leaving many open questions as to their quantitative interrelations. Therefore, we investigated hydroabrasion in a multi-year field study at two Swiss Sediment Bypass Tunnels (SBTs). Abrasion depths of various invert materials, hydraulics and sediment transport conditions were determined and used to compute the abrasion coefficients kv of different abrasion models for high-strength concrete and granite. The results reveal that these models are useful to estimate spatially averaged abrasion rates. The kv-value is about one order of magnitude higher for granite than for high-strength concrete, hence, using material-specific abrasion coefficients enhances the prediction accuracy. Three-dimensional flow structures, i.e., secondary currents occurring both, in the straight and curved sections of the tunnels cause incision channels, while also longitudinally undulating abrasion patterns were observed. Furthermore, hydroabrasion concentrated along joints and protruding edges. The maximum abrasion depths were roughly twice the mean abrasion depths, irrespective of hydraulics, sediment transport conditions and invert material.
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