In this paper we present an experimental study of the dynamics of underwater sand ripples when a regular pattern of ripples is subjected to a skewed oscillatory flow, i.e., one not perpendicular to the direction of the ripple crests. Striking patterns with new, superposed ripples on top of the original ones occur very quickly with a characteristic angle, which is, in general, not perpendicular to the flow. A slower, more complex transition then follows, leading to the final state where the ripples are again perpendicular to the flow. We investigate the variation of the superposed pattern as a function of the direction, amplitude, and frequency of the drive, and as a function of the viscosity (by changing the temperature). We quantify the dynamics of the entire transition process and finally study the grain motion around idealized (solid) skewed ripples. This leads to a characteristic mean path of a single particle. The path has a shape close to a parallelogram, with no apparent connection to the pattern of real, superposed ripples. On the other hand, a thin layer of sand sprinkled on the solid ripples leads to qualitatively similar patterns.
Bibliographical noteCopyright (2004) American Physical Society.
- OSCILLATORY FLOW