Blok 2013. Grain size distribution analysis of bottom samples.

Knowledge about grain size distribution is essential for a large variety of purposes. This note focuses on turbidity related studies especially caused by bottom material that may come into suspension by energy supplied by tidal currents, waves or dredging. To get insight in the sediments that potentially may cause turbidity, when suspended, bottom samples are analysed for, amongst others, grain size distribution. One of the parameters of interest is the content of fines in the bottom material. Although occasionally the content of fines may exceed 10%, usually it ranges from less than 1% to a few percent. The accuracy of determination should be better than 25% of the content.

A multitude of protocols is in use for determination of particle size distribution of bottom samples obtained from the sea floor. Dutch institutes like Imares, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NIOZ (NIOO), Alterra, Deltares chose the protocol which meets best the requirements as imposed by the  purpose of the specific analysis, hence, the choice of protocol is application based.