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This project improves the new module of the numerical tool Delft3D (Delft3D-slurry) as a tool to simulate slurry / soft sediment deposition, which is critical to improve our capabilities to building with mud and beneficial (and circular) use of soft sediment.

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.

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 are nowadays limited. This project builds up on the positive development and findings of the previous phase (TKI DEL035), towards further improving understanding and modeling of soft sediments depositional processes.

Project activities

This project advances the development of Delft3D-slurry to improve prediction of geometry and material properties distribution in fine sediments and disposal site deposits, with specific focus on dewatering and basic 3D processes. The main activities of this projects are:

  1. Further validation of the new Delft3D-slurry module developed during Phase I (TKI DEL035)
  2. Theoretical development of aging (i.e. time dependent strength development) function
  3. Exploration of 3D performance

Image Added

Example of Delf3D-slurry when simulating deposition of a sand-mud mixture from a pipe. Colours represent sand concentration. Sand settles near the pipe, while fines flow further. Inhomogeneity in deposit composition have significant implication on total settlement and strength of the final deposit, with consequences for reclamation and closure of the deposit itself. The left simulaiton in the forground is one example of 3D simulation resulting form this DEL072 project. The background simulation (2DV) is an example from the DEL035 previous project).

Project Deliverables

This project collected and integrated current knowledge and physics of depositional processes, embed it into the current numerical tool, validated and tested the new tool against industry data, delivered the tool to the project partners, and produced various (conference) publications. Further, the knowledge and development of this project where included in a slurry deposition physics and modeling course, which was presented for the first time in Canada last December aside to the International Oil Sands Tailings Conference. This material is available for presentation in further course in Netherlands and abroad.

This model will be able to be utilized by the Dutch partners (e.g. dredging industry, ports or RWS) on large on-going soft sediment projects to improve accuracy of design and reduce risks and cost.

Opportunities for further valorization aside to this TKI project

This module can be applied in various tailings basins or reservoir world-wide to predicts / optimize deposition. 

Further, we are currently investigating the applicability of this Delft3D-slurry module for prediciton of risk related to mud-flows or tailings dam breach, as to timing and extension of the mud wave. This can be utilized in the definition of risk-maps and emergency evacuation plans. Applicability of this module is also being investigated for dredging application, such as Water Injection Dredging or other fluid-mud related simulations.  

Publication related to Delft3D-slurries (in Italic those produced directly during this project)

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.

Deltares (2019) “A research trajectory towards improving fines capture prediction with Delft3D-slurry Phase 2”. Delivered to IOSI in February 2019.

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.

Talmon, A.M., Sittoni, L., Meshkati Shahmirzadi, M.E., and Hanssen, J.L.J (2018a) “Shear Settling in Laminar Open Channel Flow: Analytical Solution, Measurements and Numerical Simulation”. PASTE 2018, 21th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, Perth, Australia.

Talmon, A.M., Hanssen, J.L.J, van Maren, D.S., Simms, P.H., Sittoni, L. and van Kester, J.A.Th.M. (2018b) “Numerical modeling of tailings flow, sand segregation and sand co-depositions. Latest developments and applications”. 6th Int. Oil Sand Tailings Conference, IOSTC, Edmonton, Canada.

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 (2019) “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.

Vegt, van der H. (2018): “From fluvial supply to delta deposits. Simulating sediment delivery, transport and deposition”. PhD Thesis, Technical University of Delft.

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.