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 workshops/seminars.

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;
  • 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.

You will spend time in the laboratory observing and measuring sediment transport, and learning the basic principles and methods of sampling sediment in the marine environment.

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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  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
COURSEWORK Particulate Density Currents (JB) 5
REPORT 24-hour take home assignment (MA + JB)

A 24-hour assignment that simulates a short scoping study that you would be expected to provide working within a marine environmental consultancy.

50
COURSEWORK Wylfa Newydd Sediment Transport Investigation (MA) 25
COURSEWORK Sedimentary Bedforms (JB) 20

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture

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

24
Practical classes and workshops

4 practicals on benthic boundary layers, instrumentation, 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