A Mixed Eulerian–Lagrangian Spectral Element Method for Nonlinear Wave Interaction with Fixed Structures

Allan Peter Engsig-Karup, Carlos Monteserin, Claes Eskilsson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We present a high-order nodal spectral element method for the two-dimensional simulation of nonlinear water waves. The model is based on the mixed Eulerian–Lagrangian (MEL) method. Wave interaction with fixed truncated structures is handled using unstructured meshes consisting of high-order iso-parametric quadrilateral/triangular elements to represent the body surfaces as well as the free surface elevation. A numerical eigenvalue analysis highlights that using a thin top layer of quadrilateral elements circumvents the general instability problem associated with the use of asymmetric mesh topology.We demonstrate how to obtain a robust MEL scheme for highly nonlinear waves using an efficient combination of (i) global L2 projection without quadrature errors, (ii) mild modal filtering and (iii) a combination of local and global re-meshing techniques. Numerical experiments for strongly nonlinear waves are presented. The experiments demonstrate that the spectral element model provides excellent accuracy in prediction of nonlinear and dispersive wave propagation. The model is also shown to accurately capture the interaction between solitary waves and fixed submerged and surface-piercing bodies. The wave motion and the wave-induced loads compare well to experimental and computational results from the literature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWater Waves
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Nonlinear and dispersive free surface waves
  • Wave–structure interaction
  • Fully nonlinear potential flow
  • Spectral element method
  • Mixed Eulerian–Lagrangian
  • Marine hydrodynamics
  • Numerical wave tank

Cite this