Particle friction angles Φ represent the physical resistance to initial movement of a sediment particle and are therefore useful for relating initiation of motion to particular flows. We determined over 8000 friction angle values at five natural rivers by applying a new method that uses a digital load cell to directly measure the force Fd required to pivot or slide a particle out of its natural resting place. Within each site, median Φ values were very similar to previously reported relations, yet different enough between sites that a location-general predictive empirical relation would produce errors in Φ of ±10 degrees for Di/Ks > 1. Furthermore, within a Di/Ks class at a given site the range in Φ was as large as 80°, much greater than the range of median values between classes for natural sediment mixtures. Using estimates of τc* from extensive bed load measurements made by Andrews and Erman  at Sagehen Creek and the in situ Φ measurements made in this study together with a theoretical model developed by Wiberg and Smith , we show that Φ measurements made with this new method can be used to accurately predict τc* for natural, water-worked sediments. Additionally, these results confirm that a Φ value ≪Φ50 is more appropriate for predicting τc* of a given size class.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||In situ determination of particle friction angles of fluvial gravels|
|Series title||Water Resources Research|
|Publisher||American Geophysical Union|