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Dégradation des sédiments marneux et suspensions hyperconcentrées

Abstract : On the Terres Noires marly catchments, downstream fining patterns and high concentrations of suspended sediments (up to 800 g/L) are observed. The present work is organised in two parts. The first part investigates the processes that are involved in the production of fine sediments. Such processes occur at two different time scales: At a monthly scale, between the floods, bed sediments are exposed to weathering due to frost/thaw and wetting/drying alternations. The rate of such long-term processes is estimated using climatic data and experiments on marly pebbles. At the smaller time scale of a flood (a few minutes), bedload sediments are subject to abrasion and fragmentation due to mechanical loading. The rate of this short-term process is quantified by performing experiments in an annular flume device. Eventually, we show that both short and long-term processes are necessary to explain the field observed degradation rates. To study more in detail the mechanical degradation at the pebble scale, numerical simulations of friction and impact loading are performed with the Discrete Element Methods, as well as fragmentation experiments on marl. The resulting rupture properties of marl are therefore incorporated into a new model that describes the evolution of the grain-size distribution of sediments. The model shows that fragmentation and abrasion are both involved and that the efficiency of fragmentation decreases. The second part of the work is focused on the behaviour of a suspension of fine marly sediments, and on the influence of the concentration on such flow. This study is based on rheometer measurements and flume experiments at various slopes, discharges, flume roughnesses and concentrations. These experiments demonstrate that the fluid behaviour becomes non-newtonian at high concentrations (above 600 g/L). This creates an unsheared plug zone that slows the flow down. The flow may therefore become laminar with a high friction coefficient. With such a change in the fluid behaviour, the method used in the field for discharge estimation will not work anymore for highly concentrated floods.
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Submitted on : Friday, June 24, 2011 - 9:08:20 AM
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Caroline Le Bouteiller. Dégradation des sédiments marneux et suspensions hyperconcentrées. Sciences de la Terre. Université de Grenoble, 2011. Français. ⟨NNT : 2011GRENU018⟩. ⟨tel-00603000⟩

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