This work introduces analytical and numerical approaches to compute the incipient motion of ellipsoidal sediment particles. Initiation of motion of spherical particles is dominated by rolling mode. However, solutions for initiation of motion for non-spherical grains have to incorporate rolling, sliding, and mixed modes. The proposed approaches include a wide variety of shapes and inclinations that represent realistic configurations of sediment bed layers. The numerical procedure is based on the discrete element method, simulating the micro-mechanics of the sediment as an aggregate of rigid ellipsoids interacting by contact. The numerical solution covers a range of incipient movements that cannot be covered by the analytical approach. Hence, some trapped modes observed in analytical calculations are complemented by the numerical computation of threshold stresses. The main results are organized as novel extended Shields diagrams for non-spherical grains, where non-dimensional critical shear stress is represented in terms of friction Reynolds number.

Keywords:  Bedload, computational methods in hydro-environment research and fluid dynamics, discrete element method, ellipsoidal particles, fluid–particle interactions

Access Full Text