Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulation of Deep-Water Wave Instabilities Involving Wave Breaking

Yuzhu Li*, David R. Fuhrman

*Corresponding author for this work

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Instabilities of deep-water wave trains subject to initially small perturbations (which then grow exponentially) can lead to extreme waves in offshore regions. The present study focuses on the two-dimensional Benjamin–Feir (or modulational) instability and the three-dimensional crescent (or horseshoe) waves, also known as Class I and Class II instabilities, respectively. Numerical studies on Class I and Class II wave instabilities to date have been mostly limited to models founded on potential flow theory; thus, they could only properly investigate the process from initial growth of the perturbations to the initial breaking point. The present study conducts numerical simulations to investigate the generation and development of wave instabilities involving the wave breaking process. A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model solving Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) equations coupled with a turbulence closure model in terms of the Reynolds stress model is applied. Wave form evolutions, Fourier amplitudes, and the turbulence beneath the broken waves are investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number021901
JournalJournal of Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering
Issue number2
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Deep-water wave instability
  • Wave breaking
  • Modulational instability
  • Crescent waves
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)


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