Large eddy simulation of spilling and plunging breakers

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A Navier–Stokes solver with a free surface model is used for simulating wave breaking, undertow, and turbulence in breaking waves. The free surface model is based on the Volume of Fluid concept. Turbulence scales larger than the grid scale are simulated directly while turbulence scales smaller than the grid scale are represented by a sub-grid scale model. Two different approaches for the sub-grid scale model have been applied, which are the Smagorinsky model and a model based on a k-equation for the sub-grid scale turbulence. The waves approach the shore in shore-normal direction and break on a plane constant sloping beach. Periodic spilling and plunging breakers are simulated for 20 and 16 wave periods, respectively. The set-up, undertow, and turbulence levels are compared to experimental results. Despite the rather coarse resolution of the computational domain, satisfactory results for the wave height decay and undertow have been obtained. However, the turbulence levels are over-predicted when using the standard values of the model parameters and a complete answer to this problem has not been found. Furthermore, the evolution of vorticity over the wave period has been studied. It shows that at the initial breaking point vorticity is generated around the vertical as well as around the transverse axis. Later vorticity around the longitudinal axis (offshore–onshore direction) is generated, probably through deformation of vorticity around the other axis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCoastal Engineering
Issue number5-6
Pages (from-to)463-485
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

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