Experimental investigation and numerical modelling of steep forced water waves

H. Bredmose, M. Brocchini, D. H. Peregrine, L. Thais

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Steep forced water waves generated by moving a rectangular tank are investigated both experimentally and numerically. Our main focus is on energetic events generated by two different types of external forcing. Horizontal motions are arranged to give wave impact on the sidewall. Steep standing waves forced by vertical acceleration can result in spectacular breaking modes similar to, and more energetic than, those reported by Jiang, Perlin and Schultz (1998, hereinafter J98). Among them we find thin sheets derived from sharp-crested waves, ('mode A' of J98) and the 'flat-topped' crest or 'table-top' breaker ('mode B' of J98). We report here on experimental observations of 'table-top' breakers showing remarkably long periods of free fall motion. Previously such breakers have only been observed in numerical computations. Both types of breakers often thin as they fall to give thin vertical sheets of water whose downward motion ends in either a small depression and a continuing smooth surface, or air entrainment to appreciable depths. Experimental results are compared graphically with numerical results of two theoretical models. One is an extended set of Boussinesq equations following Wei et al. (1995), which are successful up to wave slopes of O(1). The other numerical comparison is with a fully nonlinear irrotational flow solver (Dold 1992) which can follow the waves to breaking.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Issue number490
Pages (from-to)217-249
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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