Introduction to the project

This is a collaborative project between Deltares and COSIA (Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance). This project has the ambition to pushing the boundary of state-of-the-art in physical processes and predictive tool to assess and improve soft sediments / tailings deposition and fines captures.

Sediment waste of mine processes (tailings) as well as dredged sediments are deposited in dedicated deposits, or beneficially re-utilized to build new lands (e.g. Marker Wadden), to improve resilience of flood defences or enhance habitat restoration. The ability to improve the prediction capabilities of the sediment deposition dynamics as well as the characterisitcs and properties of the resulting deposits (e.g. distribution of sand and mud, strength, total settlement and time scale) is critical to reduce cost and risk of these activities. Current knowledge and predictive tool is nowadays limited. This project aims to contribute to close this key knowledge and tool gap.Confluence spaces are great for sharing content and news with your team. This is your home page. Right now it shows recent space activity, but you can customize this page in anyway you like.

Objectives of this project

One of the key challenges in Delta Technology is related to possibilities of building on and with soft material. Soft materials (e.g. from dredged material and mine tailings) can be reused to form robust water defences, enclosure dams and for land building. The material can be used to combat settlement in Sustainable Delta Cities, as a cost-effective material for flood defences, and as the basis for nature-based land reclamations like Marker Wadden. As such, "Bouwen met Slib" has been identified as an important innovation to strengthen the international position of Dutch engineering companies. This project will deliver a new upgraded version of the numerical tool Delft3D to improve prediction of geometry and material properties distribution in fine sediments and disposal site deposits.


  1. Data Collection and Analysis. Most of the data will be provided by COSIA. This will be integrated with literature and Deltares data;
  2. Optimization of the current model in 2DV. This includes:
    1. Comprehensive rheological model assessment (including literature and knowledge inventorization);
    2. Implementation of the new relavant theory in Delft3D-1D;
    3. Implementation and improvement of Delft3D-2DV;
    4. Upgrading Delft3D-slurry to main stream Delft3D
  3. Verification of the new model against COSIA data.
  4. Reporting, model delivery and preparation of a publication


The overarching deliverable of this project is the report attached here below. This reports refers to other subdeliverables. These are:

  • The mater thesis of Hanssen, 2016 and van Es, 2017. These can be downloaded at the Technical University Thesis portal;
  • Three pubblications: Sittoni et al. 2016, Talmon et al. 2016 and Sittoni et al. 2017.

Full reference to these deliverables are given in the reference section below. For more information please contact Luca Sittoni ( or Vincent van Zelst (

Another deliverable of this project is the software developed during this project. To obtain a copy of the software, please contact Luca Sittoni or Vincent van Zelst. The software is in continuus development, so we are happy to provide the latest version available, together with the complementary documentation.


Publication related to Delft3D-slurries

Deltares (2017a) “Task 2A: IOL TT and FFT flow, segregation and mixing dynamics”. Delivered to IOL (Dave Rennard) in June 2017.

Deltares (2017b) “A research trajectory towards improving fines capture prediction with Delft3D-slurry Phase 1”. Delivered to COSIA in November 2017.

Es, van H.E. (2017) “Development of a numerical model for dynamic depositioning of non-Newtonian slurries”. MSc-thesis, Delft University of Technology.

Hanssen J.L.J. (2016) “Towards improving predictions of non-Newtonian settling slurries with Delft3D: theoretical development and validation in 1DV”. MSc-thesis, Delft University of Technology.

Sheets B., Wagner T., Swenson J.B., Horton J., Langseth J., Sittoni L., Walstra D.J., Winterwerp J.C., Uittenbogaard R.E., van Kester J.A.Th.M. and Talmon A.M. (2014) “Muddy river deltas as analogues for oil sand tailings beaches: improving fines capture and operational efficiency with tailings beach modelling”.  4th Int. Oil Sand Tailings Conference, IOSTC (eds. D. Sego, G.W. Wilson and N. Beier), Lake Louise, Canada, pp.397-405.

Sittoni, L., Talmon, A.M., van Kester, J.A.Th.M, and Uittenbogaard, R.E. (2015). “Latest Numerical Developments for the Prediction of beaching flow and segregating behaviour of thick non-Newtonian mixtures”. 17th Transport and Sedimentation Conference, Delft, The Netherlands.

Sittoni, L., Talmon, A.M., Hanssen J.L.J, van Es, H.E., van Kester, J.A.Th.M., Uittenbogaard, R.E., Winterwerp, J.C. and van Rhee, C., (2016) “Optimizing tailings deposition to maximize fines capture: latest advance in predictive modelling tools”. 5th Int. Oil Sand Tailings Conference, IOSTC, Lake Louise, Canada.

Sittoni, L., Talmon, A.M., Hanssen J.L.J, van Es, H.E., van Kester, J.A.Th.M., Uittenbogaard, R.E., Winterwerp, J.C. and van Rhee, C., (2017) “One step further towards prediction of tailings deposition flow and sand segregation. Where we are, and what comes next.”. COSIA Innovation Summit, Calgary, Canada.

Talmon, A.M., Hanssen, J.L.J, Winterwerp, J.C., Sittoni L. and van Rhee, C. (2016) “Implementation of Tailings Rheology in a Predictive Open-Channel Beaching Model”. PASTE 2016, 19th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, Santiago del Chile, Chile.

Other publications related to sand-settling non-Newtonian slurries deposition

Ahmadpour, A. and Sadeghy, K. (2013) “An exact solution for laminar, unidirectional flow of

Houska thixotropic fluids in a circular pipe”. Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics 194 (2013) 23–31.

Ansah-Sam M., Sheets B., Langseth J., Sittoni L. and Hanssen J. (2017) “Delft3D modeling of Sand Placement on an Oil Sands Treated Tailings Deposit”. Tailings and Mine Waste 2017, Banff, Canada.

Bagnold, R.A. (1956). “The flow of cohesionless grains in fluids”. Proc. Royal Soc. Philos. Trans. London, vol.249, pp.235-297.

Billingham, J. and Ferguson, J.W.J. (1993) “Laminar, unidirectional flow of a thixotropic fluid in a circular pipe”. J. of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics, vol. 47, pp 21-55.

Charlebois L.E. (2012) “On the flow and beaching behaviour of sub-aerially deposited, polymer-flocculated oil sands tailings: a conceptual and energy-based model”. MSc-thesis, The University of British Columbia.

Childs, L.H., Hogg, A.J. and Pritchard, D. (2016) “Dynamic settling of particles in shear flow of shear thinning fluids”. Journal Non-Newtonian fluid mechanics, vol. 235, pp 83-94.

Coussot, P. (1994) “Steady, laminar, flow of concentrated mud suspensions in open channel”. Journal of Hydraulic Research, 32:4, 535-559

Coussot, P. (1997). “Mudflow rheology and dynamics”. IAHR/AIRH MONOGRAPH, Balkema.

Dankers, P. J. T. and Winterwerp, J. C. (2007). “Hindered settling of mud flocs: Theory and validation”. Continental shelf research, 27:1893–1907.

Deltares (2016) “Delft3D-Flow User Manual”:

Diep, J., Weiss, M., Revington, A., Mayls, B. and Mittal. K. (2014) “In-line mixing of mature fine tailings and polymers”. PASTE 2014, 17th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, Vancouver, Canada.

Gillies. R., Spelay. R., Sun. R., Godsal. A. and Li, C., (2012) “Pipeline transport of thickened oil sand tailings”. 3rd International oil Sand Tailings Conference, proceeding, page 301. Edmonton, Canada.

Hewitt, D.R. and Balmforth, N.J. (2013) “Thixotropic gravity currents”. J. Fluid Mech., vol. 727, pp. 5682.

Houska, M. (1981) “Engineering Aspects of the Rheology of Thixotropic Liquids”. PhD- thesis, Czech Technical University, Prague.

Jacobs, W., van Kesteren, W.G.M. and Winterwerp, J.C. (2008) “Strength of sediment mixtures as a function of sand content and clay mineralogy”. Sediment and Ecohydraulics INTERCOH 2005, eds T. Kusuda, H.Yamanishi, J. Spearman J.Z. Gailani, Proceedings in Marine Science, Vol. 9, pp 91-107.

Kessel, van T. and Blom, C. (1998) “Rheology of cohesive sediments: Comparison between a natural and an artificial mud”. Journal of Hydraulic Research, 36, pp.591-612.

Kranenburg, C. (1994) “The fractal structure of cohesive sediment aggregates”. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 39, 451–460.

Mizani, S. (2016) “Experimental study and Surface deposition modelling of amended oils sands Tailings products”. PhD-thesis, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Mizani, S., Simms, P. and Wilson, W. (2017) “Rheology for deposition control of polymer-amended oil sands tailings”. Rheol Acta, DOI 10.1007/s00397-017-1015.

Moore, F. (1959) “The rheology of ceramic slips and bodies”. Transactions British Ceramic Society, Vol. 58, 470-494.

Neelakantan, R. (2016) “Effect of Shear Energy Input on the Rheology of Flocculant-Dosed Kaolinite Suspensions”. MSc-thesis, University of Alberta.

Papanastasiou, T.C. (1987). “Flows of materials with yield”. J. Rheol., 31 (5), pp. 385-404.

Pirouz, B., Seddon, K., Pavissich, C., Williams, P., and Echevarria, J. (2013) “Flow through tilt flume testing for beach slope evaluation at Chuquicamata Mine Codelco,”. PASTE 2013, 16th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Salinas, C., Martinson, R., Cooke, R. and Ferrada, O. (2009) “Shear and Rheology Reduction for Flocculated Thickened Tailings”. PASTE 2009, 12th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, Vina del Mar, Chile.

Sisson, R., Lacoste-bouchet, P., Natural, C., Costello, M., Hedblom, E., Sheets, B. and Sittoni, L. (2012) “An analytical model for tailings deposition developed from pilot scale testing”. 3rd International oil Sand Tailings Conference, proceeding, page 53. Edmonton, Canada.

Spelay, R.B.  (2007) “Solids transport in laminar, open channel flow of non-Newtonian slurries”. PhD-thesis Univ. Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.

Syrakos, A., Georgiou, G.C., and Alexandrou, A.N. (2015) “Thixotropic flow past a cylinder”. Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics 220, 44–56.

Talmon, A. M. and Huisman, M. (2005). “Fall velocity of particles in shear flow of drilling fluids”. Tunnelling and underground space technology, 20:193–201.

Talmon A.M., Kesteren W.G.M. van, Mastbergen D.R. Pennekamp J.G.S. and B. Sheets (2014a) “Calculation methodology for segregation of solids in non-Newtonian carrier fluids”. PASTE 2014, 17th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, Vancouver, Canada.

Talmon A.M., W.G.M. van Kesteren, L. Sittoni and E. Hedblom (2014b) “Shear cell tests for quantification of tailings segregation”. Canadian J. Chemical Engineering, vol.92, pp.362-373.

Talmon, A.M (2018) “Rheology and segregation of sand-water-clay mixtures in deposition flow modelling”. South Africa’s Society of Rheology (SASOR), Stellenbosch, Sept 25-28, South Africa.

Thomas, A.D.  (1999) “The influence of coarse particles on the rheology of fine particle slurries”. Rheology in the mineral industry II, 113-123.

Toorman, E.A. (1994) “An analytical solution for the velocity and shear rate distribution of non-ideal Bingham fluids in concentric cylinder viscometers”. Rheol Acta 33:193-202

Toorman, E.A. (1997) “Modelling the thixotropic behaviour of dense cohesive sediment suspensions”. Rheol Acta 36:56-65.

Treinen J.M., Cooke R., and Salinas C. (2010) “Energy induced rheology reduction of flocculated slurries”. PASTE 2010, 13th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, Toronto, Canada.

Vegt, van der H., Storms J. E.A., Walstra D. J. R and Howes, N.C. (2015) “Analysis tools to quantify the variability in deltaic geological models using Delft3D simulation results”. 2nd EAGE Conference on Forward Modelling of Sedimentary Systems.

Wachs, A., Vinay, G., and Frigaard I. (2009) “1.5D numerical model for the start-up of weakly compressible flow of a viscoplastic and thixotropic fluid in pipelines”. J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 159, 81–94.

Winterwerp, J.C and van Kesteren W.G.M. (2004) “Introduction to the physics of cohesive sediment dynamics in the marine environment”. Elsevier.

Worral, W.E. and Tuliani, S. (1964) “Viscosity Changes during the Ageing of Clay-Water Suspensions”. Trans Brit Ceramic Soc 63:167–185.

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