Measurement and Scaling Analysis of Rotor-Induced Sediment Mobilization

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Flow visualization and particle imaging velocimetry (PIV) experiments were conducted in a water tank to investigate the effects of rotor wake and sediment properties on rotor-induced sediment mobilization during hover in ground effect. The two-phase flow was separated into the carrier phase and the dispersed phase for characterization. The carrier phase was studied using PIV to acquire time-resolved planar velocity measurements for a field of view within the rotor wake. The rotor-induced flow was confirmed to be dominated by blade tip vortices and was characterized primarily in terms of the vortex characteristics. Vortices were identified using a tracking function, and were compared to the Lamb-Oseen vortex velocity profile to evaluate their size and strength. The rotor-induced flow was also characterized in terms of wall-jet velocity and turbulent kinetic energy. The dispersed phase was separated using image filtering procedures and was quantified by identifying mobilized sediment particles visible in the field of view. Characteristics of the rotor-induced flow and quantification of sediment mobilization were each averaged over time for several rotor rotations to reduce the effects of wake aperiodicity and asymmetry. New parameter groups were created by combining rotor-induced sediment mobilization system characteristics and each was inspected for correlation with sediment mobilization. Three parameter groups which correlated for all cases measure here are identified and discussed.