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Shallow Water Hydro-Sediment-Morphodynamic

Equations for Fluvial Processes
Zhixian Cao consequences. Finally, future development of SHSM equations
Professor, State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower is briefly discussed under the two-phase flow framework.
Engineering Science, Wuhan Univ., Wuhan 430072, China; Professor, Fluvial flows often induce sediment transport and morphologi-
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Institute for Infrastructure and Environment, Heriot-Watt Univ., Edinburgh cal evolution, which in turn conspire to modify the flows. The in-
EH14 4AS, U.K. (corresponding author). E-mail: teractive processes of flow, sediment transport, and morphological
evolution in alluvial rivers constitute a hierarchy of physical prob-
Chunchen Xia lems of significant interest in the fields of fluvial hydraulics and
geomorphology. Enhanced understanding of these processes is es-
Ph.D. Candidate, State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydro-
power Engineering Science, Wuhan Univ., Wuhan 430072, China. E-mail:
sential for not only river engineering practice, but also effective flood risk management and environmental and ecological well-
being (Gomez 1991; Wu 2007; Frey and Church 2009; ASCE/
EWRI Task Committee 2011).
Gareth Pender
Mathematical modeling has become one of the most proactive
Professor, Institute for Infrastructure and Environment, Heriot-Watt Univ., approaches to enhancing the understanding of fluvial processes
Edinburgh EH14 4AS, U.K. E-mail: over the last half-century or so (Wu 2007), irrespective of miscon-
ceptions of its capability and uncertainties from a variety of sources
Qingquan Liu (Oreskes et al. 1994). Papanicolaou et al. (2008) present a review of
Professor, Dept. of Mechanics, School of Aerospace Engineering, Beijing current models for fluvial processes, focusing on their main appli-
Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China. E-mail: cations, strengths, and limitations. They also provides insights
into future trends and needs with respect to hydrodynamic and sedi-
Forum papers are thought-provoking opinion pieces or essays ment transport models. While fully three-dimensional modeling
founded in fact, sometimes containing speculation, on a civil en- may facilitate very detailed resolution of the phenomena (Wu et al.
gineering topic of general interest and relevance to the readership 2000; Fang and Wang 2000; Marsooli and Wu 2015), the comput-
of the journal. The views expressed in this Forum article do not ing cost is excessively high in general and thus its application
necessarily reflect the views of ASCE or the Editorial Board of is limited to cases of small spatial scales and short durations.
the journal. Comparatively, SHSM models feature a sensible balance between
theoretical integrity and applicability and therefore have seen wide-
DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)HY.1943-7900.0001281 spread applications.
Pivotal to shallow water hydrosediment–morphodynamic mod-
els are the governing equations (hereafter SHSM equations), which
Introduction are built on the fundamental mass and momentum conservation
laws of fluid dynamics (Xie 1990; Wu 2007). Unlike traditional
The last several decades have witnessed increasingly widespread shallow water hydrodynamic equations for clear water flows (Toro
applications of shallow water hydrosediment–morphodynamic 2001), the interactions between flow, sediment transport, and bed
(SHSM) models in hydraulic engineering and geomorphological evolution are explicitly accommodated in the complete SHSM
studies. Pivotal to such models are the SHSM equations that have equations. The last 10 years or so have seen an increasing number
been well established from the fundamental mass and momentum of computational studies of a hierarchy of extreme fluvial processes
conservation laws of fluid dynamics. However, there continue to be based on these SHSM equations, i.e., dam-break floods over erod-
various simplified SHSM equations based on the assumptions of ible bed (to name a few, Capart and Young 1998; Cao et al. 2004;
very slow bed evolution, sediment transport capacity, and quasi- Wu and Wang 2007; Xia et al. 2010; ASCE/EWRI Task Committee
steady flow, of which the effects remain insufficiently understood. 2011; Huang et al. 2012, 2014, 2015). More broadly, these equa-
Also, in a recent reformulation, the established SHSM equations tions have been extended for modeling coastal processes (e.g., Zhu
are questioned because it is argued that bed sediment entrainment and Dodd 2015; Kim 2015; Xiao et al. 2010), watershed erosion
effects are incorrectly incorporated in previous models and jump processes (Kim et al. 2013), subaqueous sediment-laden flows and
conditions at the bed surface are needed to rectify the accounting turbidity currents (Hu and Cao 2009; Hu et al. 2012) as well as
for the effects of mass exchange. This paper presents a review of the sharply stratified processes (Li et al. 2013; Spinewine and Capart
traditional SHSM equations along with three simplified versions, 2013; Cao et al. 2015b; Zech et al. 2015), which actually involve
i.e., the decoupled version based on the assumption of very slow double layer-averaged SHSM equations.
bed evolution, the deduced version in line with the assumption of Nevertheless, there continue to be various simplified versions of
sediment transport capacity, and the truncated version due to the the complete SHSM equations used in hydraulic engineering and
assumption of quasi-steady flow. It also addresses the recent refor- geomorphological studies, of which the effects have so far re-
mulation that hinges upon presumed, mesoscopically and macro- mained insufficiently understood. One of the conventional simpli-
scopically controversial jumps of velocity and stress at the bed fied versions concerns the decoupled SHSM equations (referred to
surface. A critical issue is flagged out of the reformulation con- as the decoupled version), in which a few terms characterizing the
cerning an actual momentum exchange with the bed, which must feedback effects of bed deformation and sediment transport on the
vanish physically and otherwise may incur practically unrealistic water–sediment mixture flow are ignored. Another widely evoked

© ASCE 02517001-1 J. Hydraul. Eng.

J. Hydraul. Eng., 2017, 143(5): 02517001

simplified version points to the deduced SHSM equations based on having been a number of experimental and analytical studies on this
the capacity assumption for sediment transport (called the capacity matter as briefed in Cao et al. (2003).
version), which provides that sediment transport rate (or concen- Fluvial sediment transport and the bed also exhibit a two-way
tration) at a cross section is entirely determined by the local interaction (Fig. 1). On the one hand, sediment transport can be
(i.e., at a cross section) flow and bed conditions. A further simpli- affected by the bed conditions (especially bed sediment composi-
fied version relates to the truncated SHSM equations on the basis tions) by virtue of sediment entrainment from the bed. On the other
of quasi-steady flow assumption (the quasi-steady version), which hand, sediment transport is normally in a nonequilibrium state,
neglect the time derivatives in decoupled version of the SHSM i.e., sediment entrainment from the bed is unbalanced by sediment
equations except that for bed evolution. deposition to the bed. As a result, the bed undergoes deformation
Concurrently, Iverson and Ouyang (2015) tried to reformulate (aggradation or degradation). Essentially, equilibrium sediment
the underlying theory of depth-integrated models based on the con- transport is just an idealized conceptualization.
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tinuum assumption, arguing that bed sediment entrainment effects The interaction between the flow and the bed in general de-
are incorrectly incorporated in previous models and jump condi- grades to a one-way phenomenon. The bed is literally the bottom
tions at the bed surface are needed to rectify the accounting for boundary of the flow and always affects the flow, while the flow
the effects of mass exchange. Their reformulation pertains to not does not directly alter the bed (but indirectly affects bed evolution
only high-speed mass flows (e.g., debris flows), but also fluvial via sediment transport), regardless of the forces that the flow exerts
flows such as dam-break floods over erodible bed. Succinctly, they on the bed surface. Of particular significance to the SHSM equa-
cast doubt on the SHSM equations that have been well established tions in this respect is the issue of physically coupled versus de-
and widely applied in hydraulic engineering practice and geomor- coupled modeling (Fig. 1), as discussed in a subsequent section.
phological studies for a few decades (Xie 1990; Wu 2007), while The bed surface merits elaboration as a key to this paper. It is
leaving a number of issues that are open for debate and invite essentially the interface between the water–sediment mixture flow
more investigations. and the static bed layer. It usually evolves as a result of nonequili-
This paper aims to present a review of the traditional SHSM brium sediment transport due to unbalanced mass exchange,
equations along with three simplified versions, i.e., the decoupled i.e., the net flux between the upward sediment entrainment from
version, the capacity version, and the quasi-steady version. The fo- the bed surface and the downward deposition from the water
cus is placed on their respective applicability and issues in need for column does not vanish. In general, the bed surface may appear
further investigations. It also flags a critical issue related to the indistinct because the sediment particles may move intermittently
recent reformulation by Iverson and Ouyang (2015) in order to and stochastically close to the bed, and also it can be very compli-
spur discussions about the theoretical basis of the SHSM equations. cated when bed forms such as dunes and ripples are present in
Finally, future development of SHSM equations is briefly ad- alluvial rivers. Nevertheless, the position of the mobile bed has
dressed under the two-phase flow framework. to be defined in mathematical models (not just depth-averaged
models). The authors are unaware of an explicit definition of
the bed surface in existing literature in the context of river dynam-
ics. Generally, the time-averaged velocity of the water–sediment
Flow–Sediment-Bed Interactions
mixture flow decreases downward from the free (water) surface
Generally, fluvial flow, sediment transport, and the bed interact along the flow depth [e.g., Figs. 8.4a and 8.15a in Bridge and
with each other. Fig. 1 is a sketch of the interactions that warrant Demicco (2008)]. Therefore, in theory the bed surface can be de-
elaboration in the context of computational river dynamics. Specifi- fined at the level where the time-averaged velocity of the water–
cally, the flow and sediment transport feature a two-way interac- sediment mixture flow just vanishes (Fig. 2). Immediately above
tion. Sediment transport is dictated by the flow, while sediment the bed surface, the flow may feature a substantial velocity because
may modify the flow (e.g., turbulence may be enhanced or sup- the flow usually increases sharply in the immediate vicinity of the
pressed by sediment). In connection with the former way of the bed surface. Naturally, there is no motion below the bed surface
flow-sediment interaction is the issue of noncapacity versus capac- because the seepage flow through the porous medium of the static
ity transport in SHSM models (Fig. 1), which is addressed in a bed layer can be presumed to be negligible.
subsequent section. The latter way of flow-sediment interaction
is not covered in this paper because the effects of sediment on
SHSM Equations
the flow (e.g., turbulence modification) have never been incorpo-
rated in SHSM models as far the authors are aware, despite there The governing equations of shallow water hydrosediment–
morphodynamic models can be derived by directly applying the
Reynolds transport theorem in fluid dynamics (Batchelor 1967),
which has been available for over two decades in the undergraduate
textbook edited by Xie (1990). The textbook was written in
Chinese, and therefore may not be accessible to many. Yet, one
can readily find the SHSM equations presented in English
(Wu 2007), derived by integrating and averaging the full three-
dimensional mass and momentum conservation equations. For
convenience, these are referred to as traditional SHSM equations,
as compared with the recently reformulated equations by Iverson
and Ouyang (2015).

Traditional SHSM Equations

For ease of description, this paper focuses on one-dimensional (1D)
Fig. 1. (Color) Flow–sediment bed interactions
models for fluvial flows over a mobile, mild-sloped bed. Also, the

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J. Hydraul. Eng., 2017, 143(5): 02517001

boundary elevation; c̄1 = depth-averaged sediment concentration
of the flow layer; g = gravitational acceleration; τ 1bot = bottom
shear stress of the flow layer, usually estimated using an empirical
relation; p = bed sediment porosity; F = net flux of sediment ex-
change between the flow column and the bed, which needs to
be quantified separately; ρ̄1 ¼ ρf ð1 − c̄1 Þ þ ρs c̄1 = depth-averaged
density of the flow layer; ρ̄2 ¼ ρf p þ ρs ð1 − pÞ = depth-averaged
density of the bed layer; and ρf and ρs = densities of water and
sediment, respectively.
To shed insight into the interactions between the flow, sediment,
Fig. 2. Flow velocity and sediment concentration profiles and bed evolution and also expedite numerical solution, Eqs. (1)
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and (2) are reorganized using Eqs. (3) and (4) so that the
variable density of the water-sediment mixture does not appear
on the left-hand side (LHS) of the equations, as follows (Cao et al.
sediment is presumed to be uniform (single-sized) and noncohe- 2004):
sive. Nevertheless, the effects of steep slopes on shallow flows
can be substantial, which can be incorporated properly in modified ∂h1 ∂h1 ū1 F
þ ¼ ð5Þ
equations [similar to Cao et al. (2015a) for clear water flows]. Like- ∂t ∂x 1−p
wise, turbulent stresses may play an important role in shallow flows
and sediment transport over steep beds, which can be taken into  
∂ðh1 ū1 Þ ∂ 1
account by second-order terms in the momentum equation and þ h1 ū21 þ gh21
sediment continuity equation in a manner similar to Cao et al. ∂t ∂x 2
(2015a) and Bohorquez and Ancey (2015). Also, it must not be ∂zb τ 1bot ðρs − ρf Þgh21 ∂ c̄1 ðρ̄2 − ρ̄1 ÞFū1
construed that nonuniform sediment transport is less important. ¼ −gh1 − − − ð6Þ
∂x ρ̄1 2ρ̄1 ∂x ρ̄1 ð1 − pÞ
Actually, nonuniform sediment transport involves extremely com-
plicated mechanisms that to date remain poorly understood and Further, the continuity equation for the fluid phase (water)
certainly warrant intensive investigations. The extended SHSM can be readily obtained by subtracting Eq. (3) from Eq. (5), which
equations for processes featuring nonuniform sediment transport reads
can be found in Hu (2013), Hu et al. (2014), Qian et al. (2015,
2016), and Cao et al. (2016) that explicitly incorporate the tradi- ∂h1 ð1 − c̄1 Þ ∂h1 ū1 ð1 − c̄1 Þ pF
tional work by, for instance, Hirano (1971) and Armanini and þ ¼ ð7Þ
∂t ∂x 1−p
Di Silvio (1988). Further, the mean velocity of suspended sediment
is approximately equal to flow velocity, which is generally em- Apparently, only two of the three continuity equations
bedded in the sediment continuity equation. Yet, the mean velocity [i.e., Eqs. (5), (3), and (7) for the water-sediment mixture, sediment,
of bed-load sediment is usually appreciably lower than the flow and water, respectively] are independent and can in principle be
velocity (Einstein 1950; Chien and Wan 1999; Greimann et al. used in formulating a mathematical model of fluvial processes.
2008), which can be represented by a coefficient β smaller than Each of Eqs. (3), (5), and (7) can be readily derived from the other
unity in the unit-width sediment transport rate (Cao et al. 2011). two equations. Nevertheless, there have been confused applications
The effects of these approximations may be clarified in further in- of these continuity equations (Lanzoni et al. 2006; Cui et al. 2005),
vestigations, but are not addressed herewith. as commented by Cao and Hu (2008).
The traditional SHSM equations comprise the mass and mo- Eq. (5) represents the mass conservation for the water-sediment
mentum conservation equations for the water-sediment mixture mixture. It differs from the traditional continuity equation for clear
flow and the mass conservation equations, respectively, for sedi- water flows in shallow water hydrodynamics because of the mass
ment and bed material. In general, four physical variables are exchange between the flow and the erodible bed. The right-hand
solved in 1D models, i.e., flow depth, depth-averaged velocity, side (RHS) of Eq. (5) indicates the contribution of mass exchange
and sediment concentration as well as bed elevation. Hereafter, with the bed to the mass conservation of the water-sediment mix-
the water-sediment mixture flow and the static bed are, respectively, ture. It is significant for processes with active sediment transport
denoted by subscripts 1 and 2. Then the governing equations are and fast morphological evolution, including not only extreme
written as follows (Xie 1990; Cao et al. 2004): events such as mobile-bed dam-break floods and highly erosive
∂ðρ̄1 h1 Þ ∂ðρ̄1 h1 ū1 Þ ∂z debris flows, but also usually encountered fluvial processes such
þ ¼ −ρ̄2 b ð1Þ as hyperconcentrated floods in the lower Yellow River and its
∂t ∂x ∂t
tributaries in China.
  In Eq. (6), there are two additional terms on the RHS if com-
∂ðρ̄1 h1 ū1 Þ ∂ 1 ∂z
þ ρ̄1 h1 ū21 þ ρ̄1 gh21 ¼ −ρ̄1 gh1 b − τ 1bot ð2Þ pared with that for single-phase clear water flows. The third term
∂t ∂x 2 ∂x on the RHS indicates the effect of streamwise variable sediment
concentration, which makes the current hyperbolic system
∂ðh1 c̄1 Þ ∂ðh1 ū1 c̄1 Þ distinct from the traditional augmented 1D or the x-split of two-
þ ¼F ð3Þ
∂t ∂x dimensional (2D) shallow water equations in which a totally pas-
sive scalar has no impact on the flow (Toro 2001; LeVeque 2002).
∂zb F The fourth term on the RHS of Eq. (6) represents an apparent,
¼− ð4Þ rather than real, momentum transfer due to sediment exchange
∂t 1−p
between the flow and the bed. On the one hand, the deposition
where t = time; x = streamwise coordinate; h1 = flow depth; ū1 = of sediment contained in the moving water column can release mo-
depth-averaged flow velocity in the x-direction; zb = flow-bed mentum to the flow, producing a positive source term related to the

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deposition flux. On the other hand, the entrainment of bed sedi- term by their Eq. (22), which however is controversial because it
ment, initially with vanishing momentum due to its original static represents the lumped momentum conservation for the flow and the
state, will absorb momentum from the flow, behaving as a sink in bed as a whole and naturally the interlayer momentum exchange
momentum conservation. terms in their Eqs. (20) and (21) disappear. The effect of the real
momentum exchange term in Eq. (8) is demonstrated in a sub-
sequent section, “Computational Test.”
Reformulated SHSM Equations
Recently, Iverson and Ouyang (2015) reformulated the SHSM
equations. The reformulation hinges on the premise that the veloc- Coupled versus Decoupled Modeling
ity and stress jump are discontinuous at the bed surface z ¼ zb . In
one dimension, their continuity Eq. (37) is the same as Eq. (1) given The flow–sediment-bed interactions (Fig. 1) certainly warrant
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previously, their Eq. (10) is essentially equivalent to Eq. (4) in the explicit incorporation in mathematical river models if they are to
traditional SHSM equations, and their momentum conservation- be able to resolve the fluvial processes properly. Of particular sig-
based Eq. (38) can be rewritten as nificance to this paper is the coupled modeling methodology. As
the bed deforms, it will lead to changes in the flow. This influence
∂ðρ̄1 h1 ū1 Þ ∂ 1 is primarily dependent on how fast the bed deforms. When bed
þ ðβ 1uu ρ̄1 h1 ū21 þ ρ̄1 gh21 Þ
∂t ∂x 2 deformation is significantly slower than that of flow changes by
∂zb orders of magnitude, the feedback effects of bed deformation on
¼ −ρ̄1 gh1 þ τ 1top − τ 1bot þ ρ̄1 u1 ðzb ÞE1bot ð8Þ the flow are negligible, and traditional decoupled mathematical
river models are approximately applicable, in which the RHS of
where β 1uu = Boussinesq momentum-distribution coefficient, Eq. (5) is neglected along with the third and fourth terms on the
which can be approximately presumed to be equal to unity; RHS of Eq. (6). Otherwise, decoupled models may totally collapse,
E1bot = bed material entrainment rate at the bottom of the flow and fully coupled models using the complete SHSM equations are
layer; τ 1top = top shear stress of the flow layer, usually negligible required in order to properly resolve the strong interactions be-
in open channels; and u1 ðzb Þ = velocity component of the flow tween the flow, sediment transport, and bed. One of the most telling
layer at the bed surface in the x-direction. cases concerns dam-break flow over erodible bed (Cao et al. 2004).
Most notably, Eq. (8) due to Iverson and Ouyang (2015) differs It is necessary to flag out that both physical coupling and
from Eq. (2) (Wu 2007; Cao et al. 2004; Capart and Young 1998; numerical coupling are important for modeling fluvial processes
Xie 1990) in that the former includes an extra term ρ̄1 u1 ðzb ÞE1bot in with active sediment transport and rapidly evolving bed. Physical
its RHS. Fundamentally, this stems from the way the bottom boun- coupling necessitates the use of the complete, rather than simpli-
dary conditions are characterized. In light of the continuum fied, governing equations for the phenomena, i.e., Eqs. (5), (6), (3),
assumption, the velocity components and stresses are continuous and (4). Most notably, the contribution of mass exchange with the
at the bed surface, which is in contrast to jumps evoked by Iverson bed to the mass conservation of the water–sediment mixture flow is
and Ouyang (2015). Specifically, the tangential velocity compo- critical, as characterized by the RHS term in Eq. (5). For extreme
nents vanish at the bed surface because the bed is static, which cases such as dam-break floods over erodible sediment bed, ne-
in the context of fluid dynamics is referred to as the no-slip con- glecting it may lead to collapse of the modeling at the worst
dition of viscous fluids, i.e., u1 ðzb Þ ¼ u2 ðzb Þ ¼ 0. This has been (Cao et al. 2004), while some mild cases may entail considerable
well embedded in models for fluvial processes (Wu 2007) and earth errors. Compared with the RHS term in Eq. (5), the gradient term of
surface flows [Figs. 8.4a and 8.15a in Bridge and Demicco (2008)]. sediment concentration and the apparent momentum exchange term
From a microscopic perspective, the nonslip approximation at a on the RHS of the momentum equation [e.g., Eq. (6)] are much
liquid-solid interface may be affected by a number of factors, as more minor and can be neglected practically. Numerical coupling
revealed by experimental studies (Neto et al. 2005) inspired by requires synchronous solution of the whole set of the governing
the developments in the fields of microfluidic and microelectrome- equations, an issue tentatively ignored in this paper.
chanical devices. Yet, the SHSM equations are certainly developed Arguably, prior to Capart and Young (1998), mathematical river
for applications to processes at the mesoscopic and macroscopic models based on the SHSM equations were rarely coupled as the
scales. More broadly, the continuity condition of the tangential RHS of Eq. (5) and the third and fourth terms on the RHS of Eq. (6)
velocity components at the bed surface holds for subaqueous were exclusively ignored, even though the complete SHSM equa-
granular flows (Armanini 2013; Armanini et al. 2009) and tions had been available since Xie (1990). Studies over the last de-
sediment-laden flows or turbidity currents (Huang et al. 2005; cade have revealed that coupled modeling does not incur any
Kneller and Buckee 2000). appreciable increase in computing cost compared with decoupled
Physically, the mass exchange between the water-sediment mix- modeling, as can be anticipated from the fact that the physical cou-
ture flow and the bed does not involve any momentum exchange pling just additionally necessitates the computation of a few source
because the sediment (and water) entrained from the static bed does or sink terms. At the same time, coupled modeling involves fewer
not have any momentum initially, and therefore does not bring any assumptions than decoupling modeling, thereby minimizing model
momentum into the flow. Likewise, the sediment (and water) de- uncertainty. Indeed, coupled modeling has been more and more
posited into the bed does not take out any momentum from the widely used in computational river dynamics since Capart and
flow. This proposition has been correctly reflected in traditional Young (1998) and Cao et al. (2004), even for large-scale field cases
SHSM equations, e.g., Xie (1990), Capart and Young (1998), such as the Tangjiashan landslide dam failure process and the
Cao et al. (2004), and Wu (2007), as illustrated by Eq. (2). Iverson resulting flood following the Wenchuan Earthquake on May 12,
and Ouyang (2015, p. 13) appreciate that there must not be real 2008, in Sichuan Province, China, and also the historic megaflood
momentum exchange between the flow and the static bed. How- due to glacier dam-break flood in Altai Mountains, Southern
ever, the last term on the RHS of Eq. (8) clearly indicates a real Siberia (Huang et al. 2012, 2014, 2015). Nevertheless, the advan-
momentum gain (when E1bot > 0) or loss (when E1bot < 0) from tages of coupled modeling have not been sufficiently recognized
mass exchange, if u1 ðzb Þ does not vanish. They try to justify this because decoupled modeling continues to be popularly used by

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not only engineers, but also the academic research sector assumption. This is clear if the first term on the LHS of Eq. (3)
(e.g., Charru 2006; Bohorquez and Ancey 2015; Nelson et al. is discretized, which indicates that the sediment content ðh1 c1e Þ
2015a, b; Nicholas 2010). in the flow column per unit bed area is actually dependent on its
In a way, the latest advances in coupled modeling manifest the value at a prior instant, the advection due to mean flow velocity
vision by Papanicolaou et al. (2008) on the capability of dynami- (represented by the spatial gradient of the sediment transport rate),
cally simulating bed evolution and sediment exchange processes and also the mass exchange with the bed (indicated by F). Furbish
between the sediment bed and the water column. The primary idea et al. (2012) suggested that their derived entrainment form of the
of the recent reformulation of the SHSM equations by Iverson and Exner equation [essentially similar to Eq. (3)] considers the lag
Ouyang (2015) is to think of a mass flow and its bed as interacting, effect of bed-load transport, whereas the flux form of the Exner
depth-integrated continua, which in essence concurs with the equation [literally similar to Eq. (11)] does not. Theoretically, as
coupled modeling methodology in computational river dynamics the spatial and temporal dimensions required for sediment adapta-
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(Xie 1990; Capart and Young 1998; Cao et al. 2004; Wu 2007; tion are properly appreciated, noncapacity [or nonlocal due to
Papanicolaou et al. 2008). Pelosi and Parker (2014)] models are generally justified as opposed
to capacity models. Capacity models could be conditionally appli-
cable if sediment adaptation to capacity regime is fulfilled suffi-
Noncapacity versus Capacity Modeling ciently rapidly and within an adequately short distance.
For fluvial suspended sediment transport, noncapacity models
Sediment transport capacity is a pivotal concept in the context of
have been increasingly widely developed and applied during the
fluvial hydraulics and geomorphology. Succinctly, it is defined as
last several decades. Most likely this relates to the consensus that
the maximum amount of sediment that can be transported by the
it takes long temporal and spatial dimensions for suspended sedi-
flow without causing aggradation or degradation of the riverbed.
ment transport to adapt to capacity in line with local flow regime,
This corresponds to an idealized regime, characterizing equilibrium
simply (and somewhat intuitively) because suspended sediment
sediment transport by steady and uniform flow. Yet fluvial flows
may distribute along the full flow depth, as opposed to bed load
are generally unsteady and nonuniform, and under these circum-
that usually moves in the immediate vicinity of the bed. Indeed,
stances the concept of sediment transport capacity may not be
the analysis of the relative time scale of suspended sediment
strictly applicable. Accordingly, nominal sediment transport capac-
transport concurs with this recognition (Cao et al. 2007), and com-
ity is introduced, determined exclusively by local flow and bed
putational tests (Cao et al. 2012) reveal that a capacity model for
conditions (i.e., at a cross section). For ease of description, the word
suspended sediment transport may entail substantial deviations
nominal is typically dropped. Certainly, the nominal transport
from a noncapacity model and therefore is generally not justified.
capacity reconciles with the actual capacity in steady and uniform
In contrasting, bed-load transport has been widely presumed to
flows over a sufficiently erodible bed.
be at capacity. Likely this is because bed load usually moves in the
For over half a century [arguably since Exner’s analysis of why
immediate vicinity of the bed and therefore is believed to be able to
dunes are asymmetrical in the 1920s (Parker 2004)], fluvial sedi-
adapt to capacity rapidly (van Rijn 1993). This intuition is under-
ment transport has often been quantified based on the assumption
pinned by the theoretical analysis of the relative time scale of uni-
that its transport rate (or concentration) is always equal to capacity
determined exclusively by local flow and sediment conditions. form bed-load transport (Cao et al. 2011). Complementary to the
Based on this capacity assumption and Eqs. (5), (6), (3), and (4), analysis, computational tests (Cao et al. 2012) confirm that a capac-
one can readily yield the governing equations of capacity ity model for uniform bed load leads to practically equivalent
models by eliminating the net flux F of sediment exchange be- results as a noncapacity model. Nevertheless, bed-load sediments
tween the flow and the bed, i.e., the capacity version of the SHSM can differ in their sizes greatly, ranging from sands to gravels,
equations cobbles, and even boulders. The adaptation of nonuniform bed-load
transport to capacity is at least intuitively size-dependent. The
∂h1 ∂h1 ū1 ∂zb analysis of the relative time scale of nonuniform bed-load transport
þ þ ¼0 ð9Þ shows rapid, size-dependent adaptation to capacity regime (Hu
∂t ∂x ∂t
2013; Cao et al. 2016), extending the work for uniform bed-load
  transport (Cao et al. 2011). Yet, this finding is essentially governed
∂ðh1 ū1 Þ ∂ 1
þ h1 ū21 þ gh21 by the complete SHSM equations built on the fundamental mass
∂t ∂x 2 and momentum conservation laws. However, the adaptation is con-
∂zb τ 1bot ðρs − ρf Þgh21 ∂ c̄1 ðρ̄2 − ρ̄1 Þū1 ∂zb strained by changes in the water and sediment inputs from either the
¼ −gh1 − − þ upstream or a tributary, in addition to the conservation laws. As a
∂x ρ̄1 2ρ̄1 ∂x ρ̄1 ∂t
result, the capacity assumption for bed load may not be generally
ð10Þ justified. The computational case study of a strong aggradation case
due to sediment feeding (Seal et al. 1997) reveals that the capacity
∂ ∂ðh1 ū1 c1e Þ model entails substantial errors compared to the noncapacity model
½ð1 − pÞzb þ h1 c1e  þ ¼0 ð11Þ (Hu 2013; Cao et al. 2016).
∂t ∂x
As Gomez (1991) stated, “Many of the problems that have pre-
where c1e = sediment transport capacity of the flow layer. vented the development of a viable method of predicting bed load
Eqs. (9)–(11) constitute the governing equations for a capacity transport arise directly from the assumption that equilibrium trans-
model [or local model according to Pelosi and Parker (2014)], solv- port conditions prevail.” Here, equilibrium transport condition es-
ing for three unknowns (h1 , ū1 , and zb ). Eq. (11) reduces to the sentially means capacity regime, rather than the real equilibrium as
traditional Exner equation when dðh1 c1e Þ=dt is neglected, which shown in Fig. 1. In essence, Gomez (1991) flagged the significance
provides that the spatial gradient of the sediment transport rate of accounting for the spatial and temporal variability in generally
solely dictates the bed evolution. nonuniform bed-load sediment transport, which explicitly necessi-
From physical perspectives, the temporal and spatial variability tates noncapacity modeling. Charru (2006) demonstrated that
of sediment transport is essentially ignored in the capacity quantifying bed-load transport with a noncapacity model, instead

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of a capacity description, significantly improves the prediction of to reveal if and how the quasi-steady flow models could reproduce
ripple length in comparison with observed data. the results of the complete SHSM models fairly accurately, and also
To date, the effects of the capacity assumption for sediment how much of the computing cost could be reduced. This is impor-
transport have been only occasionally investigated as compared tant for practical applications because quasi-steady flow models
against noncapacity modeling (Cao et al. 2007, 2011, 2012, are currently still in widespread use by engineers (especially for
2016; Hu 2013; Pelosi and Parker 2014), while capacity models large-scale and long-duration cases, e.g., the case in connection
continue to be popularly used (particularly for bed-load transport), with the operation of the Three Gorges Reservoir, Yangtze River,
not only in hydraulic engineering, but also in geophysical studies China). Nevertheless, from a theoretical perspective quasi-steady
(e.g., Nelson et al. 2015a, b; Nicholas 2010). More studies are flow models are out of date, while the modeling paradigm based
warranted to resolve this long-standing issue. Currently, it remains on the complete SHSM equations characterizes the current state-of-
hard to delimit quantitatively the premises under which capacity the-art of computational river dynamics and the way forward.
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modeling is approximately appropriate. From numerical perspec-

tives, Eq. (3) involved in noncapacity models can be solved con-
gruently along with Eqs. (5) and (6) of the mixture flow, while Computational Test
Eq. (4) is in essence an ordinary differential equation and can
be readily solved. In contrast, Eq. (11) evoked in capacity models There have been computational studies showing the significance of
is in a rather peculiar from and cannot be solved with Eqs. (9) and coupled modeling in contrast to decoupled modeling (e.g., Cao et al.
(10) in a congruent manner. Consequently, noncapacity modeling is 2004) and noncapacity modeling in comparison with capacity
recommended for general applications as opposed to capacity mod- modeling (Cao et al. 2012, 2016; Hu 2013). Yet the effect of the
eling. Additionally, the computing costs of capacity and noncapac- quasi-steady flow assumption remains poorly understood as stated
ity models are more or less equivalent for cases with uniform in a prior section, and is reserved for future studies. This section
sediment transport, but for fluvial processes involving nonuniform aims to demonstrate the effects of the reformulated momentum
sediment transport, it remains to be investigated how the two cat- Eq. (8) in comparison with the traditional momentum Eq. (2). This
egories of models perform. is warranted because it remains unknown how the reformulation by
Iverson and Ouyang (2015) performs.

Quasi-Steady Flow Assumption Momentum Equations

The last several decades have seen a large number of depth- The velocity u1 ðzb Þ at the bed surface involved in Eq. (8) is evalu-
averaged models built upon the truncated SHSM equations on the ated by the depth-averaged velocity ū1 following Ouyang et al.
basis of quasi-steady flow assumption (Cunge and Perdreau 1973; (2015). Given Eqs. (3) and (5) and also τ 1top ¼ 0, Eq. (8) can
Cunge et al. 1980; Li and Xie 1986; Xie 1990; Wu 2007). In this be rearranged to a form similar to Eq. (6), i.e.
class of simplified models, the RHS of Eq. (5) is typically neglected  
∂ðh1 ū1 Þ ∂ 1
along with the third and fourth terms on the RHS of Eq. (6), which þ h1 ū21 þ gh21
virtually evoke a certain level of decoupling among the flow, sedi- ∂t ∂x 2
ment transport, and morphological evolution (Cui et al. 1996; Cui ∂zb τ 1bot ðρs − ρf Þgh21 ∂ c̄1
and Parker 2005; Nicholas 2010). Denoting the characteristic ¼ −gh1 − − þ MT ð12Þ
∂x ρ̄1 2ρ̄1 ∂x
length, time, and velocity scales of fluvial processes as l0 , T 0 ,
and U 0 , if T 0 ≫ l0 =U 0 , the time derivatives in Eqs. (5), (6), and where MT = momentum transfer term. This term can be
(3) can be ignored (de Vries 1965). In a quasi-steady flow model, expressed as
the computational period is divided into a number of time intervals.
During each time interval, the flow discharge is assumed to be con- ðρ̄2 − ρ̄1 ÞFū1
MTC ¼ − ð13aÞ
stant and the flow is assumed to be steady, but the bed change is ρ̄1 ð1 − pÞ
updated using Eq. (4) (Xie 1990; Wu 2007).
From a mathematical perspective, the quasi-steady flow Fū1
assumption essentially reduces the hyperbolic system of Eqs. (5), MTIO ¼ MTC þ MTA ¼ ð13bÞ
ð1 − pÞ
(6), and (3) to a set of first-order ordinary differential equations
(ODEs). This set of ODEs can be readily solved using a spectrum
of routine numerical schemes if the flow is consistently subcritical. ρ̄2 ū1 F
MTA ¼ ð13cÞ
However, special treatment is necessary when transcritical flows ρ̄1 ð1 − pÞ
are to be solved (e.g., Cui et al. 1996; Cui 2007). Succinctly, the
quasi-steady assumption is only applicable to cases featuring MTOY ¼ −MTIO ð13dÞ
steady or sufficiently weak unsteady flows. It will break down for
a range of processes that are triggered by sudden failure of dams where the subscripts C, IO, and OY indicate, respectively, Cao et al.
and dikes (Capart and Young 1998; Cao et al. 2004; Wu 2007; (2004), Iverson and Ouyang (2015), and Ouyang et al. (2015); and
ASCE/EWRI Task Committee 2011; Huang et al. 2012) or by out- the subscript A indicates an added term.
burst of glacier lakes (Huang et al. 2014). Likewise, it is problem- It is recognized that when F > 0, MTIO is always positive while
atic if the response of a sediment bed to rapidly changing boundary MTC and MTOY are invariably negative (because ρ̄2 > ρ̄1 for flu-
conditions is to be resolved (Lyn 1987). vial processes). Obviously, the difference MTA between MTIO and
In fact, the applicability of computational models is lost if the MTC results from the last term on the RHS of Eq. (8). Also, Ouyang
quasi-steady flow assumption is involved. Equally critically, it re- et al. (2015) should have used MTIO of Eq. (12) in their dam-
mains far from clear how a quasi-steady flow model performs as break flood modeling exercises. Arguably, however, they encoun-
compared with a model built on the complete SHSM equations in tered computational difficulty by using MTIO and therefore
terms of accuracy and computing cost. Further studies are required used Eq. (12) with MTOY ¼ −MTIO instead. It is intriguing

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J. Hydraul. Eng., 2017, 143(5): 02517001

parameterization of the next flux (F) of sediment exchange be-
tween the flow and the bed inevitably bears uncertainty quantita-
tively because the understanding of the mechanism of sediment
exchange remains rather limited. However, it is the positivity of
the term MTIO (when F > 0) that entails the catastrophe. The
parameterization of the net flux of sediment exchange only affects
the time when MTIO leads to the failure of the model. The larger the
net flux of sediment exchange, the sooner the catastrophe occurs,
and vice versa.
Succinctly, the distinct profiles shown in Figs. 4 and 5 are
dictated by the values of MTC , MTOY , and MTIO as illustrated
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Fig. 3. Dam-break floods in Fig. 6. The dam-break flood leads to bed scour, corresponding
to F > 0. As indicated previously, MTC and MTOY are always neg-
ative, which physically means an apparent momentum loss from
bed scour. Therefore, a negative feedback into the flow momentum
how Ouyang et al. (2015) derived MTOY ¼ −MTIO from Iverson occurs from bed scour. On the contrary, MTIO is invariably positive,
and Ouyang (2015). indicating a momentum gain of the flow from bed scour. Accord-
Implemented with the same mass conservation equations for the ingly, a positive feedback into the flow momentum takes place from
water-sediment mixture, sediment, and bed material, i.e., Eqs. (5), bed scour. In line with this observation, a self-reinforcing mecha-
(3), and (4), the three momentum equations, Eq. (12) with MTC , nism of the mobile-bed flow would exist. The more the flow en-
MTIO , and MTOY determined by Eq. (13), are used respectively trains sediment from the bed (and thus the more the bed is scoured),
to evaluate their influences on dam-break floods as described in the more the flow is equipped with momentum, which in turn
the following. would be capable of entraining more sediment from the bed.
Progressively, the flow and bed scour would become unconstrained
Results and Evaluation and infinitely large. Even intuitively, this is unrealistic. The distinct
mechanisms of the feedback into the flow momentum from bed
A case of 1D dam-break flood over erodible bed at the prototype scour explain why the values of MTC and MTOY as well as the
scale is numerically revisited (Cao et al. 2004). Fig. 3 gives a sketch corresponding flow (hydraulic jump, velocity, and wave front)
of the case. The channel, initial and boundary conditions, and and bed scour are well constrained in time, while those due to
numerical scheme along with the spatial and temporal steps as well Iverson and Ouyang (2015) increase infinitely in time and become
as the estimation of bed sediment exchange flux are the same as physically problematic.
described in Cao et al. (2004). In this case study, the sediment Generally, one of the fundamental principles in river dynamics
particle diameter is set to be 4 mm. (usually called the principle of self-adaptation) provides that the
Figs. 4 and 5 illustrate the water surface and bed profiles as well flow would become weaker when entraining sediment from the
as velocity profile at different times. The results based on the mo- bed, i.e., F > 0 (and accordingly the bed degrades), and stronger
mentum equations of Cao et al. (2004) and Ouyang et al. (2015) are if depositing sediment to the bed, i.e., F < 0 (and thus the bed ag-
just marginally different. Comparatively, the water surface profile grades). This principle dictates that a river (reach) at an equilibrium
due to the momentum equation of Iverson and Ouyang (2015) fea- regime would adapt to a new equilibrium in response to changes,
tures a huge hydraulic jump, severe bed scour, and significantly typically, in discharge and sediment input from the upstream or in
faster propagation of the wave forefront (Fig. 4). Most importantly, water level at the downstream end. From this principle, one can
the hydraulic jump, bed scour (Fig. 4), and velocity (Fig. 5) in- immediately figure out that the positive (negative) term MTIO when
crease with time infinitely, and become physically unrealistically F > 0 (F < 0) will cause problems. The reasoning is crystal clear in
large. This consequence is obviously catastrophic. Indeed, the

Fig. 4. (Color) Water surface and bed profiles at (a) t ¼ 20 s; Fig. 5. (Color) Velocity profiles at (a) t ¼ 20 s; (b) t ¼ 60 s;
(b) t ¼ 60 s; (c) t ¼ 150 s (c) t ¼ 150 s

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J. Hydraul. Eng., 2017, 143(5): 02517001

Di Cristo et al. (2015). Some existing two-phase models ignore
the mass exchange between the flow and the bed by omitting
the terms in the RHS of Eqs. (7) and (3) (Pitman and Le 2005;
Pelanti et al. 2008; Pudasaini 2012; Bouchut et al. 2015). Accord-
ingly, the models are rendered physically decoupled (Fig. 1),
applicable only to fixed bed or weakly mobile bed cases.
Concerning the momentum equations for the fluid and solid
phases, the longitudinal gradients of the normal stresses of the fluid
phase due to turbulence and the solid phase due to fluctuations have
been commonly ignored (though the understanding of the effects
remains rather limited) along with the hydrostatic pressure distri-
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bution. Yet, there have been distinct approximations of the frac-

tional pressure and gravity terms (Iverson and Denlinger 2001;
Pudasaini et al. 2005; Pelanti et al. 2008; Pudasaini 2012; Greco
et al. 2012; Di Cristo et al. 2015). For instance, in the momentum
equations of Pudasaini (2012), the pressure for the fluid and solid
phases is proportional to their respective product of volumetric
concentration. Accordingly, the momentum equations for each
Fig. 6. (Color) Values of momentum terms at (a) t ¼ 20 s; phase can be written as
(b) t ¼ 60 s; (c) t ¼ 150 s  
∂ ∂ 1
½h1 ū1f ð1 − c̄1 Þ þ h1 ð1 − c̄1 Þū21f þ gð1 − c̄1 Þh21
∂t ∂x 2
∂zb τ 1botf f sf
this respect. The positive (negative) term MTIO when F > 0 (F < 0) ¼ −gh1 ð1 − c̄1 Þ − − ð14Þ
in the momentum equation means the flow gains (loses) momentum ∂x ρf ρf
and thus becomes stronger (weaker) when F > 0 (F < 0), which  
conflicts with the principle of self-adaptation of river dynamics. ∂ ∂ 2 1 2
ðh ū c̄ Þ þ h c̄ ū þ gc̄ h
∂t 1 1s 1 ∂x 1 1 1s 2 1 1
∂z τ fsf
Future Development: Two-Phase SHSM Equations ¼ −gh1 c̄1 b − 1bots þ ð15Þ
∂x ρs ρs
Sediment-laden flows represent a typical class of fluid-solid two-
phase flows. Generally, when sediment concentration is sufficiently where the subscripts f and s indicate respectively the fluid and
low, the fluid phase dominates, while the interphase (water-to- solid phases; fsf = forces exerted by the fluid on the solid particles;
sediment) and particle-particle interactions are rather weak and ū1f and ū1s = depth-averaged velocities of the fluid and solid
therefore practically negligible. The traditional SHSM equations phases; and τ 1botf and τ 1bots = bottom shear stresses of the fluid
[i.e., Eqs. (1)–(4)] are approximately applicable. The recent refor- and solid phases, respectively.
mulation by Iverson and Ouyang (2015) could also be applicable In contrast, according to Greco et al. (2012) and Di Cristo et al.
provided that the outstanding issues [e.g., the most critical issue (2015), the pressure and gravity for the fluid phase are simply pre-
related to the momentum Eq. (8), as stated previously] could be sumed to be equal to their counterparts in a single-phase clear water
resolved properly. Common to both the traditional SHSM equa- flow, while those of the solid phase are set to be equal to the added
tions and reformulation by Iverson and Ouyang (2015), the aver- quantities due to the presence of sediment. Therefore, the momen-
aged velocity of the sediment phase is a priori quantified by the tum equations for the fluid and solid phases are
flow velocity along with a modification coefficient β (β ≤ 1).  
∂ ∂ 2 1 2
Therefore, both feature essentially quasi-single-phase models for ½h ū ð1 − c̄1 Þ þ h ð1 − c̄1 Þū1f þ gh1
the water-sediment mixture flow, as characterized by the single mo- ∂t 1 1f ∂x 1 2
mentum equation, in spite of the fact that two continuity equations ∂z τ 1botf f dsf
¼ −gh1 b − − ð16Þ
are involved. ∂x ρf ρf
However, for extreme processes such as dam-break floods over
erodible beds and debris flows, sediment concentrations could be  
∂ ∂ 2 1 r 2
high. Accordingly, the interphase and particle-particle interactions ðh ū c̄ Þ þ h c̄ ū þ gc̄ h
are intense and need to be accounted for. A two-phase flow theory, ∂t 1 1s 1 ∂x 1 1 1s 2 r þ 1 1 1
which resolves the fluid and solid phases distinctively based on r ∂zb τ 1bots f dsf
their respective mass and momentum conservation equations, is ¼ −gh1 c̄1 − þ ð17Þ
r þ 1 ∂x ρs ρs
attractive. Accordingly, there are two momentum equations in ad-
dition to two continuity equations (for one-dimensional flows). where r ¼ ðρs − ρf Þ=ρf = submerged specific gravity of sediment;
In this regard, it is noted that some existing models are literally and fdsf = drag force of the fluid on the solid particles.
quasi-single-phase models, rather than two-phase models, though Presently, it seems hard to delimit the pros and cons of the two
they are derived from a two-phase approach (e.g., Pudasaini et al. sets of momentum equations, or to develop physically better
2005; Rosatti and Begnudelli 2013). approximations to the pressure and gravity terms under the frame-
The two-phase SHSM equations can be readily derived by ap- work of shallow water sediment hydrodynamics. Yet refined com-
plying the Reynolds transport theorem in fluid dynamics (Batchelor putational tests using the two sets of momentum equations are
1967; Wallis 1969). For 1D flows with uniform sediment, Eqs. (7) viable to reveal which is practically more attractive.
and (3) represent the continuity equations for the fluid and solid Two-phase flow theory is not new at all in the broad field of fluid
phases, respectively, similar to those of Greco et al. (2012) and mechanics, and especially, depth-averaged two-phase models have

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J. Hydraul. Eng., 2017, 143(5): 02517001

been widely developed and applied for granular flows and debris engineering and geomorphological studies at mesoscopic and
flows (e.g., Pitman and Le 2005; Pelanti et al. 2008; Pudasaini macroscopic scales. The last decade has seen enhanced understand-
2012). To date, however, two-phase SHSM models for fluvial ing of the conditional applicability of simplified SHSM equations
sediment-laden, mobile-bed flows have remained rare, arguably based on the assumptions of very slow bed evolution, sediment
because of the increase in computing cost and also the demand transport capacity, or quasi-steady flow, yet further studies are still
for extra relationships that are necessary to close the governing in order to delimit their pros and cons under differential conditions.
equations. Extending the work by Greco et al. (2012) and Di Cristo The reformulated SHSM equations by Iverson and Ouyang (2015)
et al. (2015) presents an updated two-phase SHSM model, which is hinge upon presumed jumps of velocity and stress components at
tested against laboratory-observed data for dam-break flows over the bed surface, which are incompatible with the continuum
erodible bed. Yet, it is unclear if their two-phase model performs assumption. The reformulated momentum equation features an
considerably better than traditional quasi-single-phase model in extra term characterizing an actual momentum exchange between
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terms of accuracy, despite the increase in computing cost. the flow and the bed, which must vanish physically. Otherwise, it
While the pros and cons of two-phase SHSM models remain spells a positive (negative) feedback into the flow momentum when
poorly understood currently as compared with the traditional the bed degrades (aggrades), and inevitably leads to catastrophic
quasi-single-phase SHSM models, in terms of modeling accuracy failure of the model.
and computing cost, two-phase modeling holds great promise be- Succinctly, both the traditional SHSM equations and reformu-
cause more refined physical mechanisms of water-sediment flows lation by Iverson and Ouyang (2015) characterize quasi-single-
are explicitly incorporated. Most notably, fluid-solid two-phase phase models for the water-sediment mixture flow. This class of
flows are primarily characterized by the relative motion and inter- models are preferentially applicable to cases of low sediment con-
actions between the two phases. For fluvial processes, while centrations, in which the water flow reigns over the sediment mo-
suspended sediment may transport at nearly the same velocity as tions, but may not be refined enough to resolve the complicated
the flow, bed-load velocity is considerably lower than the flow physics of hyperconcentrated flows as the interphase and par-
(Einstein 1950; Chien and Wan 1999; Greimann et al. 2008). ticle-particle interactions prevail. The development and applica-
As observed in debris flows, the velocities of the two phases may tions of two-phase SHSM equations have so far remained in
deviate from each other substantially, therefore, affecting the flow their infancy, but hold great promise for modeling shallow water
mechanics (Pudasaini 2012). Accordingly, drag is one of the basic flow–sediment morphological processes, and therefore there is a
and critical mechanisms of two-phase flows, featuring the coupling huge scope for further investigations. In this respect, enhanced
between the two phases. While the relative motion between the understanding of the physics of the interphase and particle-particle
fluid and the solid phases can be resolved by the two-phase ap- interactions is crucial, in addition to the turbulent stresses of the
proach, the associated drag in between the two phases merits care- fluid phase and also the stresses due to solid particle fluctuations.
ful incorporation. Concurrently, at high sediment concentrations,
the particle-particle interactions play an important role in dictating
the flow mechanics. These interactions are normally represented Acknowledgments
by the solid phase stresses (i.e., intergranular stresses) in its mo- The work reported in this paper is funded by the Natural Science
mentum conservation equation. Likewise, the fluid phase stresses Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51279144 and 11432015) and the
due to viscosity (i.e., viscous stresses) may also be considerable, in Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. KZZD-EW-05-01-03).
addition to the turbulent stresses. The comments of anonymous reviewers and editors helped improve
Among the physical mechanisms mentioned previously, esti- the manuscript, which are very much appreciated.
mating the interphase drag, intergranular stresses, and viscous
stresses might be arguably relatively straightforward. The most
challenging part concerns the turbulent closure model for the fluid Notation
phase and the accounting for the fluctuations of the solid phase
because the current understanding of the physics of water-sediment The following symbols are used in this paper:
flows at high solid concentrations remains very limited, albeit it c̄1 = depth-averaged sediment concentration of the
progresses (Iverson 1997). This is perhaps why turbulent stresses flow layer;
and solid phase fluctuations have been rarely, if ever, incorporated c1e = sediment transport capacity of the flow layer;
in two-phase SHSM models to date, even for debris flows E1bot = bed material entrainment rate at the bottom of the
(e.g., Pitman and Le 2005; Pelanti et al. 2008; Pudasaini 2012). flow layer;
Given the sophisticated nature of the phenomena in question, F = net flux of sediment exchange between the flow
the turbulent closure models will in general necessitate additional column and the bed;
partial differential equation(s) to close the two-phase SHSM equa- fdsf = drag force of fluid on solid particles;
tions, i.e., Eqs. (7) and (3) along with Eqs. (14) and (15) or Eqs. (16)
fsf = forces exerted by the fluid on the solid particles;
and (17), because algebraic closure relations are presumably exces-
g = gravitational acceleration;
sively simplistic and thus may not be generally viable. A similar
observation should hold when accounting for the fluctuations of h1 = flow depth;
the solid particles [e.g., Eq. (35) for granular temperature in Iverson MT = momentum transfer term;
(1997)]. This certainly invites future investigations. MTA = added momentum term due to Iverson and
Ouyang (2015);
MTC = apparent momentum exchange term of Cao et al.
Conclusion (2004);
MTIO = momentum exchange term of Iverson and
The shallow water hydrosediment–morphodynamic equations, es- Ouyang (2015);
tablished based on the fundamental mass and momentum conser- MTOY = momentum exchange term of Ouyang et al.
vation laws of fluid dynamics, are generally applicable to hydraulic (2015);

© ASCE 02517001-9 J. Hydraul. Eng.

J. Hydraul. Eng., 2017, 143(5): 02517001

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