Module OSX-3006:
Particle Dynamics

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Martin Austin

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To introduce the basic physical processes involved in sediment transport in the marine environment, including the hydrodynamic (boundary layer) processes associated with currents and waves;
  2. Examine differences between the behaviour of coarse and fine sediment in relation to entrainment, deposition and transport (including turbidity currents);
  3. Explain the important role of bed forms (ripples, dunes, bars) in wave and current flows;
  4. Explain practical approaches for the measurement of sediment transport rates in the sea, and simplified modelling approaches for the estimation of sediment transport rates.

The course will be taught using a combination of lectures, practical sessions, computer exercises and workshop/seminars.


The first half of the module will be delivered as a case-study investigation of a topical issue, around which the key module topic areas will be developed, and upon which an assessment will be based.

Course content

This course provides an introduction to the dynamics of entrainment, transport and deposition of non-cohesive and cohesive sediments in coastal waters. The topics covered include:

  • physical mechanisms of sediment transport, and physico-chemical controls of sedimentation;
  • tidal and wave boundary layers;
  • sediment transport in steady and oscillatory flows;
  • initiation of motion and shields criterion;
  • bed load motion;
  • sediment entrainment and suspension;
  • bed forms in steady and oscillatory flow;
  • nearshore wave-current processes, wave-induced currents, longshore sediment transport;
  • measurement and estimation of sediment transport rates;
  • geotechnical and hydraulic interpretation of sediments textures and structures;
  • origin and nature of bed forms, ripples, dunes, bars;
  • density currents and avalanches: low density turbidity currents versus avalanches.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Basic understanding of knowledge (subject-specific theories, concepts and principles) of the processes of sediment dynamics based on the directly taught programme; Basic ability to define and solve numerical problems using appropriate techniques, and to interpret the results.

good

Good understanding of knowledge (subject-specific theories, concepts and principles) of the processes of sediment dynamics based on the directly taught programme; Good ability to define and solve numerical problems using appropriate techniques, and to interpret the results.

excellent

Thorough understanding of knowledge (subject-specific theories, concepts and principles) of the processes of sediment dynamics based on the directly taught programme; Thorough ability to define and solve numerical problems using appropriate techniques, and to interpret the results.

Learning outcomes

  1. Understand the basic physical processes involved in sediment transport, and be able to use this information to present reasoned, physically-based, answers to questions relating to marine boundary layer structure for waves and currents, bed load and suspended load, bed forms, and the prediction of sediment transport rates

  2. Draw quantitative conclusions about sediment transport based on given field data sets

  3. Provide satisfactory quantitative answers to the questions on the above topics, e.g. requiring the calculation of sediment transport rates, including the steps leading towards this goal

  4. Be able to use Matlab to manipulate and analyse numerical datasets to provide quantitative answers to sediment transport problems

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Written assignment, including essay Particulate Density Currents (JB) 25
Written assignment, including essay 24-hour extended exam (MA + JB)

48-hours to research and write an answer to an examination-type question

50
CASE STUDY Wylfa Newydd Sediment Transport Investigation (MA)

Write-up of problem-solving exercise concerning sediment transport issues at the site of the proposed Wolf Newydd nuclear power station development.

25

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture

24 lectures/tutorials/in-class demonstrations, duration 1 hour, 3 times per week

24
Practical classes and workshops

3 practicals on benthic boundary layers, sediment settling and experimental bed form dynamics; 2 hours each

6
Tutorial

5 drop-in help sessions providing support on course materials, 1 hour each

5
Private study

During 'Private Study', students work with field and laboratory data. They tackle two of the assessments (practicals) with reference to reading material and own practical/field data on experimental bed form dynamics and tidal rhythmites. The two remaining assessments (problem sheets) require reference to wider reading linked to material in the course handouts.

165

Transferable skills

  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Resources

Courses including this module