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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-439
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-439
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 06 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 06 Aug 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Effects of three-dimensional electric field on saltation during dust storms: An observational and numerical study

Huan Zhang1,2 and You-He Zhou1,2 Huan Zhang and You-He Zhou
  • 1Department of Mechanics, College of Civil Engineering and Mechanics, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, PR China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Mechanics on Disaster and Environment in Western China, The Ministry of Education of China, Lanzhou 730000, PR China

Abstract. Particle tribo-electrification being ubiquitous in nature and industry, potentially plays a key role in dust events, including the lifting and transport of sand and dust particles. However, the properties of electric field (E-field) and its influences on saltation during dust storms remain obscure as the high complexity of dust storms and the existing numerical studies mainly limited to one-dimensional (1-D) E-field. Here, we quantify the effects of real three-dimensional (3-D) E-field on saltation, through a combination of field observations and numerical modelling. The 3-D E-fields in the sub-meter layer from 0.05 to 0.7 m above the ground during a dust storm are measured at Qingtu Lake Observation Array site. The measured results show that each component of the 3-D E-field data nearly collapses on a single 3-order polynomial curve when normalized. Interestingly, the vertical component of the 3-D E-field increases with increasing height in the saltation layer during dust storms. Such 3-D E-field data close to the ground within a few centimeters has never been reported and formulated before. Using the discrete element method, we then develop a comprehensive saltation model, in which the tribo-electrification between particle-particle midair collisions is explicitly accounted for, allowing us to evaluate the tribo-electrification in saltation properly. By combining the results of measurements and modelling, we find that although the vertical component of the E-field (i.e. 1-D E-field) inhibits sand transport, 3-D E-field enhances sand transport substantially. Furthermore, the model predicts that 3-D E-field enhances the total mass flux by up to 63 %. This suggests that a truly 3-D E-field consideration is necessary if one is to explain precisely how the E-field affects saltation during dust storms. These results will further improve our understanding of particle tribo-electrification in saltation and help to provide more accurate characterizations of sand and dust transport during dust storms.

Huan Zhang and You-He Zhou
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Huan Zhang and You-He Zhou
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Short summary
We assess the effects of triboelectric charging on wind-blown sand, via observations and numerical model. The 3-D electric field close to the ground within a few centimeters is characterized for the first time. By using DEM together with particle charging model, we explicitly account for the particle-particle charging during collisions. We find that triboelectric charging could enhance the mass flux by up to 63 %, suggesting that a consideration of triboelectric charging is necessary.
We assess the effects of triboelectric charging on wind-blown sand, via observations and...
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