## When and why does the Voellmy model work well for Debrisflows?
The “best” constitutive model for debris flows is still a very open question in the scientific community. We recommend using the Voellmy model until a better model is found. Voellmy basically has only two parameters and after some calibration a useful solution can usually be found. With Voellmy one can control the flow velocity (parameter xi) and runout distance (mu). One reason Voellmy is useful is that it only requires two parameters to calibrate. The turbulent term dominates the frictional behavior when the flow is moving rapidly and the Coulomb term is dominant when the flow is moving slowly, allowing the model to be approximately calibrated to observations of flow velocity and the stopping location of the flow front. Finding the “right” debris flow model is more difficult than finding the “right” snow avalanche model because debris flows are two component systems (fluid, solid). Much of the behaviour of a debris flow — including the stopping process — involves the interaction between the fluid-solid components. Thus, without a two component model, it will be unlikely that we are able to model all aspects of debris flows. The Voellmy model mixes the two components and therefore models the debris flow when the components volumes are constant and well mixed. This assumes, of course, that the relative portions of solid and fluid remain the same, from head to tail of the event. This is hardly true |