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Journal of Arid Land  2017, Vol. 9 Issue (3): 331-344    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0096-1
Orginal Article     
Sand particle lift-off velocity measurements and numerical simulation of mass flux distributions in a wind tunnel
Fengjun XIAO1,*(), Zhibao DONG1, Liejin GUO2, Yueshe WANG2, Debiao LI2,3
1 National Demonstration Center for Experimental Geography Education, College of Tourism and Environment, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710119, China
2 State Key Laboratory of Multiphase Flow in Power Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049, China
3 Xi’an Special Equipment Inspection Institute, Xi’an 710065, China
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Lift-off velocity of saltating sand particles in wind-blown sand located at 1.0 mm above the sand bed surface was measured using a phase Doppler particle analyzer in a wind tunnel. The results show that the probability distribution of lift-off velocity can be expressed as a lognormal function, while that of lift-off angle follows an exponential function. The probability distribution of lift-off angle conditioned for each lift-off velocity also follows an exponential function, with a slope that becomes steeper with increasing lift-off velocity. This implies that the probability distribution of lift-off velocity is strongly dependent on the lift-off angle. However, these lift-off parameters are generally treated as an independent joint probability distribution in the literature. Numerical simulations were carried out to investigate the effects of conditional versus independent joint probability distributions on the vertical sand mass flux distribution. The simulation results derived from the conditional joint probability distribution agree much better with experimental data than those from the independent ones. Thus, it is better to describe the lift-off velocity of saltating sand particles using the conditional joint probability distribution. These results improve our understanding of saltation processes in wind-blown sand.

Key wordslift-off velocity      lift-off angle      joint probability distribution      sand mass flux      saltation     
Received: 24 August 2016      Published: 10 May 2017
Corresponding Authors: Fengjun XIAO     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Fengjun XIAO, Zhibao DONG, Liejin GUO, Yueshe WANG, Debiao LI. Sand particle lift-off velocity measurements and numerical simulation of mass flux distributions in a wind tunnel. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(3): 331-344.

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