Hele-Shaw beach creation by breaking waves

Anthony Thornton, Avraham van der Horn, Wout Zweers, Devaraj van der Meer, Onno Bokhove

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Fundamentals of nonlinear wave-particle interactions are studied in a Hele-Shaw conguration with wave breaking and a dynamic bed. To design this configuration, we determine, mathematically, the gap width which allows inertial flows to survive the viscous damping due to the side walls. Damped wave sloshing experiments compared with simulations confirm that width-averaged potential-flow models with linear momentum damping are adequately capturing the large scale nonlinear wave motion. Subsequently, we show that the four types of wave breaking on real-world beaches also emerge on Hele-Shaw laboratory beaches, albeit in idealized forms. Finally, an experimental parameter study is undertaken to quantify the formation of quasi-steady beach morphologies due to nonlinear, breaking waves: berm or dune, beach and sandbar formation are all classied. Our research reveals that the Hele-Shaw beach conguration allows a wealth of experimental and modelling extensions, including benchmarking of forecast models used in the coastal engineering practice.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherUniversity of Twente
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

Publication series

PublisherDepartment of Applied Mathematics, University of Twente
ISSN (Print)1874-4850
ISSN (Electronic)1874-4850


  • Mathematical design
  • Potential Flow and shallow water simulations
  • Laboratory experiments
  • Hele-Shaw cell


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