Revisiting Hele-Shaw dynamics to better understand beach evolution

Onno Bokhove, Avraham/Bram van der Horn, A.J. van der Horn, Roger M. van der Meer, Elena Gagarina, W. Zweers, Anthony Richard Thornton

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Wave action, particularly during storms, drives the evo lution of beaches. Beach evolution by non-linear break ing waves is poorly understood due to its three-dimensional character, the range of scales involved, and our limited understanding of particle-wave interactions. We show how a novel, three-phase extension to the classic “Hele-Shaw‿ laboratory experiment can be designed that creates beach morphologies with breaking waves in a quasi-two-dimensional setting. Our thin Hele-Shaw cell simplifies the inherent complexity of three-phase dynamics: all dynamics become clearly visible and measurable. We show that beaches can be created in tens of minutes by several types of breaking waves, with about one-second periods. Quasi-steady beach morphologies emerge as function of initial water depth, at-rest bed level and wave-maker frequency. These are classified mathematically and lead to beaches, berms and sand bars.
Original languageUndefined
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherUniversity of Twente, Department of Applied Mathematics
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

Publication series

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


  • IR-84385
  • METIS-296293
  • EWI-23056
  • Water waves
  • Granular Flows
  • Geophysical fluid dynamics
  • Coastal engineering

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