Sand Transport under Breaking Waves




Sand Transport under Breaking Waves

Persons involved

J. van der Zanden

Dr. ir. J.S. Ribberink S.J.M.H. Hulscher

Funding of the project

Technologiestichting STW (NL)

EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; UK)




Current hydro morphological models that are used by coastal engineers suffer from a lack of detail and accuracy when it comes to sand transport in the breaker zone. The reason is that the complex interactions between the hydrodynamics and the sediment advection processes under various wave conditions are not well understood. Practical advection-diffusion models and empirical formulas to approximate sediment transport in numerical models do exist but are still insufficiently supported by experimental data. This is mainly caused by a lack of detailed data of sand transport under different wave regimes.

By conducting large-scale wave experiments while using state-of-the-art measuring devices, we believe we can extend the current knowledge of the hydrodynamics and sediment transport under various wave conditions and can improve existing theoretical and practical models. For this purpose, a research grant was awarded by STW (and by EPSRC in the UK) for a new project named SINBAD, which involves closely collaborating researchers of the University of Aberdeen, the University of Liverpool and the University of Twente.

Whereas other members of this project team will focus on sand transport under irregular waves and the numerical modeling of the experimental results, my focus will merely be on the process of sand transport under breaking waves. Near-full scale laboratory experiments of breaking waves over fixed and mobile beds will be conducted in a large wave-flume in Barcelona during three measuring periods of two months each. My first aim will be the preparation and execution of the breaking-wave experiments. Subsequently, I will analyze the experimental results, from which we expect to find valuable new insights in the complex hydrodynamic and morphological processes. This should lead to new, detailed (semi-)empirical relationships which will be applied directly in a theoretical numerical model. Finally, the results of the different studies within the SINBAD project will be combined to improve existing practical morphological models that are commonly used in coastal engineering (e.g. Delft3D).