The ideal flip-through impact: experimental and numerical investigation

Henrik Bredmose, A. Hunt-Raby, R. Jayaratne, G. N. Bullock

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Results from a physical experiment and a numerical computation are compared for a flip-through type wave impact on a vertical face, typical of a seawall or breakwater. The physical wave was generated by application of the focused-wave group technique to the amplitudes of a JONSWAP spectrum, with the focus location adjusted to produce a near-breaking wave impact with no discernible air entrainment or entrapment. Details of the resultant impact are presented in the form of high-speed video, pressure transducer and wave gauge records. Numerical reproduction of the wave transformation and impact is achieved by application of a linear wave-analysis model and a fully nonlinear potential-flow solver. Although more advanced models exist, use of the latter model type is interesting as (1) it was applied by Cooker and Peregrine (Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Coastal Engineering, 164-176, 1990) in their original numerical discovery of the flip-through impact and (2) the assumptions behind the potential-flow model remain reasonably valid, until the flip-through jet begins to break into droplets. In the present study, the potential-flow model has been extended with the Schwarz-Christoffel conformal mapping, to allow a piece-wise linearly shaped mound geometry. Further, an ad-hoc wave-generation technique has been added, to facilitate an adequate numerical reproduction of long second-order waves in the flume. Free-surface elevations from the potential-flow computations show good agreement with wave gauge data for the wave that produces the flip-through impact. Experimental video frames with the corresponding numerical free-surface profiles overlaid show an excellent match for the flow contraction prior to impact. The deviations between the experiment and numerical solution that occur at the stage of jet formation are discussed and a computation of a slightly weaker impact illustrate the strong sensitivity of impact pressures to the shape of the impacting wave. Ways of improving the numerical description by use of more advanced models are outlined.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Engineering Mathematics
    Issue number1-2
    Pages (from-to)115-136
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Impact pressures
    • Violent wave impacts
    • Coastal engineering
    • Focused wave groups
    • Potential flow


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