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Interactions between barchan dunes

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Barchans are crescentic-shaped dunes formed in areas of unidirectional fluid flow and a limited amount of granular material. They are organized in dune fields, which can be found in deserts, rivers, the bottom of oceans, and even in extraplanetary environments, and the regulation of their size involves the interaction between different barchans within a field. This study aims to investigate the binary interactions of subaqueous barchan dunes. The experiments were performed at the University of Campinas (Brazil) and the setup consisted of a 5 m long closed-conduit channel with a rectangular cross-section (width = 160 mm and height = 50mm). A camera was placed above the test section to record the interactions. As a result, we could observe five interaction patterns from a binary field and we organized them into two proposed maps that provide a comprehensive classification for barchan-barchan interactions based on the Shields number and the number of grains of each dune. Mass Exchange and grain motion during the interactions were also computed. The results achieved so far represent a significant step toward understanding the size regulation of barchans found in water, air, and even in other planetary environments.

This talk is part of the Seminars for the Centre for Environmental and Industrial Flows series.

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