The University of Southampton
Engineering and the Environment

Research project: Investigation of Wave Impacts on Porous Structures for Coastal Defences

Currently Active: 

The understanding of wave impact dynamics on solid and/or permeable structures for coastal defences is of great importance due to sea rises and climate change. The simulation of the dynamics of the flow prior to, at and after impact at porous structures remains a great challenge in CFD. In this work, advanced techniques will be developed for free surface flow simulations, with the analyses of the dynamic forces of impact at complex porous structures. The model will be achieved as a web enabled information system.

Project Overview

There is scientific interest in understanding the underlying wave impact dynamics on solid and/or permeable/Impermebale structures for coastal defences. The accurate and validated simulation of the dynamics of the flow prior to, at and after impact has been an outstanding and challenging numerical problem in CFD (Sabeur et al 1995, 1998, Tan et al 2009, and Godderidge et al 2011). When more advanced numerical modelling of free surface flow including air entrapment processes and interactions with porous structures is achieved, greater insight into the trends of pulse-like forces involved at impact with solid and/or porous material will be understood. This will further advance our knowledge on the mechanical integrity of current sea defences and their improved design for the future.

Furthermore, the deployment of advanced numerical models for simulating such phenomena will need to be made web-accessible as information systems to a wider community of civil and coastal engineers in order to achieve collaborative integrated design of structural defences by UK Enterprise. The projected research is on free surface flow simulations in porous structures, deep analyses of forces of impact, and the integrity of structure responses to large magnitude impact pressures; under a web enabled information system environment context.

This cross-disciplinary PhD research is being conducted under a joint funding and collaboration between the University of Southampton Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering; the Faculty of Engineering and Environment and Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute.


Z.A.Sabeur, J.E.Cohen, J.R.Stephens and A.E.P.Veldman. 1998. Investigation on Free Surface Flow Oscillatory Impact Pressures with the Volume of Fluid Method. In ‘Numerical Methods for Fluid Dynamics VI’, edited by M.J.Baines, Oxford University Press, pp 493-498.

Z.A.Sabeur, W.Roberts, and A.J.Cooper. 1995. Development and Use of an Advanced Numerical Model using the VOF Method for the Design of Coastal Structures, In ‘Numerical Methods for Fluid Dynamics V’, edited by K.W.Morton and M.J.Baines, Oxford University Press, pp 565-573.

M. Tan, Y. Xiong, and J.T. Xing, 2009. Dynamic response analysis of an onshore LNG-storage tank interaction system subject to impact or earthquake loads. In, Proceedings of the Sixteenth International Congress on Sound and Vibration-ICSV16. Krakow, Poland, IIAV, 1-8.

B. Godderidge, S. R. Turnock and M. Tan 2011. Evaluation of a rapid method for the simulation of sloshing in rectangular and octagonal containers at intermediate filling levels, Computers & Fluids, ISSN 0045-7930, 10.1016 / j.compfluid.2011.09.010.

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