A Numerical Investigation of Gap and Shape Effects on a 2D Plunger-Type Wave Maker

Amir H. Nikseresht*, Harry B. Bingham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The installation of plunger-type wave makers in experimental tanks will generally include a gap between the back of the wedge and the wall of the tank. In this study, we analyze the influence of this gap on the wave making performance of the plunger using two-dimensional (2D) CFD calculations for a range of nearly linear wave conditions and compare the results with both experimental measurements and linear potential flow theory. Three wedge-shaped profiles, all with the same submerged volume, are considered. Moreover, the generated waves are compared with the predictions of linear potential flow theory. The calculations are made using the commercial ANSYS FLUENT finite-volume code with dynamic meshes to solve the Navier–Stokes equations and the volume of fluid scheme to capture the air–water interface. Furthermore, the linear potential flow solution of Wu (J Hydraul Res 26:481–493, 1988) is extended to consider an arbitrary profile and serve as a reference solution. The amplitude ratios of the generated waves predicted by the CFD calculations compare well with the predictions of linear potential flow theory for a simple wedge, indicating that viscous effects do not influence this ratio for small-amplitude motions in 2D. By contrast, significant higher harmonic components are produced by larger amplitude motions. Also, the simple wedge is found to produce the smallest spurious higher harmonic content in the far-field wave.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Application
Pages (from-to)101-115
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Berkeley wedge
  • Dynamic mesh
  • Gap
  • Hyperbolic sine profile
  • Plunger-type
  • Volume of fluid
  • Wave maker

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