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Sand transport, erosion and granular electrification

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The transport of granular materials by wind has a major impact on our environment through sand/soil erosion and the generation and transport of atmospheric dust aerosols. Terrestrially the transport of dust involves billions of tons of material every year, influencing the global climate and impacting directly upon human health. Research in aeolian transport involves the inter-related fields of fluid dynamics, granular materials and electrification/electrostatics which are in themselves diverse and complex. This review only touches upon this intricacy, but aims to overview the latest work which is expanding our current understanding and outline the areas of advancement needed in the future. Presentation is made of current models for wind driven detachment/entrainment and the transport rates of sand and dust, including the effects of contact induced grain electrification. This ubiquitous phenomenon can affect grain transport through the generation of intense electric fields and processes of electrostatic assembly. Importantly the transport of sand is characterized by saltation, which is known to be an active process for erosion and therefore a source for dust and sand formation. Using novel erosion simulation techniques the link between grain transport rates and erosion rates has been quantified. Furthermore this can be linked to production rates for dust and has been associated with chemical and mineral alteration through a process of mechanical activation of fractured surfaces. This work has implications for the evolution of all terrestrial-like planetary surfaces. Studies in non-terrestrial environments force researchers to be less empirical, ultimately leading to a deeper understanding of these processes.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftAeolian Research
Vol/bind4
Sider (fra-til)1-16
Antal sider16
ISSN1875-9637
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 1 jun. 2012

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