Date of Graduation

12-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor/Mentor

Roe, Larry; Chevrier, Vincent

Committee Member/Reader

Roe, Larry

Committee Member/Second Reader

Millett, Paul

Abstract

River channels have been observed near the Huygens probe landing site on the surface of Titan, along with evidence of rounded water ice boulders transported through fluid flow. Evidence near the landing site suggests active flow of liquid methane, which has motivated the study of the effects of sediment load and channel sizes on Titan’s fluvial features. A numerical model is used to determine the viscosity, flow velocity, and critical boulder transport diameter based on channel size, slope, and a range of sediment concentrations. This model achieves two ends: first, observed boulder diameters are used to determine the ideal channel size and slope along with a range of sediment concentrations capable of transporting said boulders. Second, cross-sectional measurements of a digital terrain model of Titan’s surface are input into the model to determine the flow conditions of observed channels. Results suggest fluvial boulder transport can occur in an average velocity range of V = 0.6 m/s to V = 1.1 m/s for slopes of -0.1 to -0.2 degrees over a sediment concentration range of up to C = 0.6 kg/kg based on laminar, transitional, or turbulent flow regimes. Conclusions are also drawn on the range of flow velocities characteristic of channels observed by Huygens probe descent imagery, and the implications these have on the erosional and meteorological patterns near the Huygens landing site.

Keywords

Titan, Planetary Sciences, Fluid Dynamics, Numerical Analysis, Computer Modeling, Geomorphology

Available for download on Saturday, December 03, 2022

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