Physics of Channelization

The Nonlinear Physics Laboratory, Clark University

Project in collaboration with Professor Dan Rothman's group at MIT

Channels observed due to water sweepage
This image appeared on the APS Home Page and Images in Physics

We study the physical processes that create eroded channels and drainage networks by doing laboratory experiments. The experimental apparatus is shown on the right. Water is fed from a reservoir in the back and the pressure is mantained at a constant level. The water seeps through the porous medium (the "sand" consisting of monodisperse glass beads) and creates channels on the slope. We obtain the depth of channels as a function of time using a laser-aided topography technique which we developed for our system. An example of channels measured in our experiment is shown above. This project is funded by the Department of Energy.

Click to see the movie of channel formation

Movie of the height evolution obtain using a laser sheet

Related Publications

  1. "Channel erosion due to subsurface flow," Braunen Smith, Arshad Kudrolli, Daniel Rothman, Gallery of Nonlinear Images at New Orleans APS meeting (2008).
  2. "Erosion of a granular bed driven by laminar fluid flow," A. Lobkovsky, A. Orpe, R. Molloy, A. Kudrolli, and D. Rothman, submitted to J. Fluid Mech.
  3. "Dynamics of channel incision in a granular bed driven by subsurface water flow," A. E. Lobkovsky, B. Smith, A. Kudrolli, D. C. Mohrig, and D. H. Rothman, J. Geophys. Res., 112, F03S12 (2007). doi:10.1029/2006JF000517.
  4. "Threshold phenomena in erosion driven by subsurface flow,'' A. E. Lobkovsky, B. Jensen, A. Kudrolli, and D. H. Rothman, Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface, 109, F04010 (2004).
  5. "Spontaneous channelization in permeable ground: Theory, experiment, and observation," N. Schorghofer, B. Jensen, A. Kudrolli, and D.H. Rothman, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 503, 357-374 (2004).

Ryan Molloy, Braunen Smith, Alex Lobkovsky, Norbert Schorghofer, Bill Jensen, Arshad Kudrolli, and Dan Rothman have contributed to the work discussed on this page.

Please send comments to:
Arshad Kudrolli

Last modified March 6, 2008