On the 11th of March 2019, Ségolène Méjean will defend her PhD entitled "Jumps in granular flows down inclines"
The PhD co-supervised by Thierry Faug (INRAE Grenoble) and Itai Einav from the School of Civil Engineering of the University of Sydney. The project benefited from a financial support from the University of Sydney.
The defense will take place at 10 am in room Ecrins at the INRAE on the university campus.
The design of avalanche protection dams relies on the understanding and modelling of physical processes related to the formation of jumps that form when a thin and fast flow meets an obstacle high enough to slow down and thicken the incoming flow. The jump height is nowadays calculated through equations that are strictly valid for non-frictional incompressible flows on a horizontal and smooth bottom. However, dense-snow avalanches are compressible granular flows taking place on a slope, and inside which energy is dissipated through enduring frictional contacts and collisions between grains. It is then essential to decipher the behaviour of jumps formed during granular flows down inclines. To this extent, the thesis relies on several approaches. Standing granular jumps are first studied in a purely theoretical way, with the help of depth-averaged mass and momentum conservation equations, in order to find a relation to predict the height of the jumps regardless of the input conditions. A great number of granular jumps are then simulated by varying several parameters (the slope angle of the incline, the discharge, the grain diameter, the grain-grain friction) thanks to the discrete element method. This method allows us to access to the internal structure of the jumps, and in particular to the spatial distributions of velocity, volume fraction and energy dissipation. Those simulations are done in two dimensions. Finally, an innovative measurement technique using dynamic X-ray radiography was adapted to an existing small-scale laboratory device to produce standing granular jumps. This technique allows in particular the measurement of the width-averaged spatial distribution of volume fraction before, inside and after the granular jumps. The comparison between the new theoretical framework proposed and both the experimental and numerical data, allows us to evidence a rich variety of granular jump patterns as a function of the input conditions. For each type of jump pattern, the shortcomings of the classical theoretical framework, which does not account for the forces at stake within the jump volume nor the compressibility, are well established.