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Laboratory Study Investigating the Three-Dimensional Turbulence and Kinematic Properties Associated with a Breaking Solitary Wave

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Abstract

A laboratory experiment was performed to investigate the three-dimensional turbulence and kinematic properties that develop due to a breaking solitary and an irregular shallow water bathymetry. A large basin equipped with a piston-type wavemaker was used to generate the wave, while the free surface elevations and fluid velocities were measured using wave gauges and three-dimensional acoustic-Doppler velocimeters (ADVs), respectively. From the free surface elevations, the evolution and runup of the wave was revealed; while from the ADVs, the velocity and turbulent energy was determined to identify specific turbulent events and coherent structures. It was found that shoaling was confined to areas with gentler sloping bathymetry near the basin side walls and the runup shoreward of the still water shoreline was not uniform. The runup was characterized by a jetting mechanism caused by the convergence of water mass near the basin centerline as the wave refracted during breaking. The jetting mechanism caused the greatest cross-shore velocities to be located near the basin centerline. The greatest turbulent events were well correlated to borefronts, resembling hydraulic jumps, where the greatest shear and fluid accelerations occurred. Because of an abrupt change in the bathymetry, a coherent structure developed which was found to have a three-dimensional flow field. It was proposed that variations in the internal flow with depth were due to the orientation of multiple vortex rings.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • David Townley Swingler (2013), "Laboratory Study Investigating the Three-Dimensional Turbulence and Kinematic Properties Associated with a Breaking Solitary Wave," http://nees.org/resources/6796.

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