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Taphonomy and turbulent flow dynamics

  1. Feb 3, 2008 #1
    I have an open question for anyone. My science/math modeling club is attempting to develop a predictive model for predicting the taphonomy of dinosaur bones exposed in a stream bank.

    We have designed and built a 5ft X 5ft stream table with two curves. The idea id to put a large disarticulated rat skeleton at the apex of the first curve. Introduce a constant volume and flow of water (at a constant gradient) and see how far the different body part will travel downstream.

    The problem lies in writing the initial predictive model. I know how to use the Manning Equation to determine the velocity in an open channel. But, the problem then becomes how to use that information to determine how far the force will carry or drive the bones fragments. I would like use the mass of the bones in the prediction and vector scalars, adjusting the force and acceleration with the change of direction at the two curves.

    The limiting factor lies in the math ability of my students. They are Pre-calculus ( between them they have Algebra I, algebra II, & trig.). so my calcualtions need to probably be trig/algebra based.

    If anybody out there can assist me I would greatly appreciate your input.

    Terry Nickerson
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 4, 2008 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    This is an excellent project, but I think you are trying to do it backwards.

    Given the sophistication of your students, perhaps it would be better to experiment with different conditions and try and discover an underlying law?
  4. Feb 4, 2008 #3
    Thanks Andy,

    Derivation is often the best way to truly understanding a system. Let the students dsicover the forcdies and variable through independent discovery and create the algorithm or formulas by discovery. Let me cogitate on it awhile and I'll let you know how I''l approach it.

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