Bed protections are usually characterized by low-mobility transport conditions and nonequilibrium turbulence profiles. As the present knowledge of the influence of turbulence on stability of cover layer units is minimal, an in-depth investigation was undertaken regarding the influence of turbulence on the stability of rough granular beds. Detailed measurements of fluctuating pressures on a bed element are used to evaluate certain concepts that are often used in modeling the entrainment of bed material from hydraulically rough beds. Three pressure transducers are placed in a cube that is part of a rough granular bed under open-channel flow, and velocities are measured using laser Doppler velocimetry. The measurements show that the magnitude of the fluctuating pressure at a certain point of the cube is a function of the exposure relative to the stones upstream of the cube. A quadrant analysis reveals that the drag force is not only directly dependent on the horizontal near-bed velocity, but on the vertical velocity as well. Further, the effect of small-scale eddies shedding from the stone during large-scale increases of longitudinal velocity is shown. The fact that large-scale velocity fluctuations create a large part of the pressure or force variance indicates that downstream of a roughness transition these fluctuations have to be taken into account in order to evaluate the stability of the bed.
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