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Experimental analysis of the segregation of dry avalanches and implications for debris flows

Author(s): Barbara Zanuttigh PhD; Alice Di Paolo

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Keywords: Segregation; avalanche; debris; experiments

Abstract: The objectives of this contribution are to analyse and quantify the segregation process of dry granular avalanches, both parallel and perpendicular to the flow. Experiments were carried out using two dry granular mixtures, a steep chute of variable length and a collecting bin divided by transversal and longitudinal sectors, in which the flowing material falls down at the chute outlet. The free-falling of the flow in the segregator bin, the filling in time of the bin itself, the grain-size composition of the bin content with varying the distance from the chute outlet and axis are examined by image analysis and by sieving each bin cell. Segregation is very effective and rapid along flow direction whereas appears to be substantially negligible perpendicularly to the flow. The rapidity of flow segregation can be directly related to flow depth, whereas effects of mixture grain-size composition seems not appreciable. The longitudinal grain-size composition profile in time is reconstructed, showing coarser particles concentrated at the flow front and on the flow surface and fine fractions prevailing at the tail and at the bottom. Possible extension of these results to debris flows are discussed considering scale problems and comparing the results with other available experimental works and with field observations of natural events.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00221686.2006.9521730

Year: 2006

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