The effect of electrostatic force on the evolution of sand saltation cloud
College of Civil Engineering and Mechanics, Key Laboratory of Mechanics on Western China's Disasters and Environments of Department of Education, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu, 730000, China
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Published online: 21 February 2006
In a wind-blown sand layer, it has been found that wind transport of particles is always associated with separation of electric charge. This electrification in turn produces some electrostatic forces in addition to the gravitational and fluid friction forces that affect the movement of saltating sand particles, further, the wind-blown sand saltation. To evaluate this effect quantitatively, this paper presents a simulation of evolution of wind-blown sand grains after the electrostatic forces exerted on the grains are taken into account in the wind feedback mechanism of wind-blown saltation. That is, the coupling interaction between the wind flow and the saltating sand particles is employed in the simulation to the non-stationary wind and sand flows when considering fluid drag, gravitation, and a kind of electrostatic force generated from a distribution of electric field changing with time in the evolution process of the sand saltation. On the basis of the proposed simulation model, a numerical program is given to perform the simulation of this dynamic process and some characteristic quantities, e.g., duration of the system to reach the steady state, and curves of the saltating grain number, grain transport rate, mass-flux profile, and wind profile varying with time during the non-stationary evolution are displayed. The obtained numerical results exhibit that the electrostatic force is closely related to the average charge-to-mass ratio of sand particles and has obvious influence on these characteristic quantities. The obtained results also show that the duration of the system to reach the steady state, the sand transport rate and the mass flux profile coincide well with experimental results by Shao and Raupach (1992) when the average charge-to-mass ratio of sand particles is 60 μC/kg for the sand particles with average diameter of 0.25 mm. When the average charge-to-mass ratios of sand particles are taken as some other certain values, the calculation results still show that the mass flux profiles are well in agreement with the experimental data by Rasmussen and Mikkelsen (1998) for another category of sand particles, which tell us that the electrostatic force is one of main factors that have to be considered in the research of mechanism of wind-blown sand saltation.
PACS: 92.40.Gc Erosion and sedimentation – / 92.10.Wa Sediment transport – / 47.55.Kf Multiphase and particle-laden flows –
© EDP Sciences/Società Italiana di Fisica/Springer-Verlag, 2006