Communications in Mathematical Sciences

Volume 7 (2009)

Number 1

Modeling shallow gravity-driven solid-fluid mixtures over arbitrary topography

Pages: 1 – 36



Chih-Yu Kuo

Ioana Luca

Yih-Chin Tai


The purpose of this paper is to derive modeling equations for debris flows on real terrain. Thus, we use curvilinear coordinates adapted to the topography as introduced, e.g., by Bouchut and Westdickenberg, and develop depth-averaged models of gravity-driven saturated mixtures of solid grains and pore fluid on an arbitrary rigid basal surface. First, by only specifying the interaction force and ordering approximations in terms of an aspect ratio between a typical length perpendicular to the topography, and a typical length parallel to the topography, we derive the governing equations for the shallow flow of a binary mixture, driven by gravitational force. In doing so, the non-uniformity through the avalanche depth of the constituent velocities and of the solid volume fraction is accounted for by coefficients of Boussinesq type. Then, the material behaviour peculiarities of both constituents properly enter the theory. One constituent is a granular solid. For its stresses we propose three models, one of them of Mohr-Coulomb type. The other constituent is a Newtonian/non-Newtonian fluid with small viscosity, obeying a viscous bottom friction condition. The final governing equations for the shallow flow of the mixture, incorporating the constitutive assumptions, are deduced, and the limiting equilibrium is then investigated.


Debris flow, solid-fluid mixture, curvilinear coordinates adapted to the topography, shallow avalanche equations, Mohr-Coulomb granular material

2010 Mathematics Subject Classification

76A20, 76D27, 76N20, 86A04

Published 1 January 2009