Hydrodynamic performance of free surface semicircular breakwaters
Teh, Hee Min
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Different types of breakwaters have been developed in the past for the protection of valuable coastal property, commercial activity and beach morphology. Among these, gravity-type breakwaters are the most common and provide good surface wave attenuation. However, these breakwaters are not always suitable due to their adverse impact on the coastal environment. To alleviate the problem, free surface breakwaters with a variety of caisson designs have been proposed and developed. The main advantages of such breakwaters are low capital cost, freedom from silting and scouring, short construction period, circulation of water beneath the breakwater and exertion of relatively low hydrodynamic forces on the structure as compared to conventional breakwaters. However, complete tranquillity on the lee side is not likely to occur due to wave energy transfer through the permeable parts of the breakwater. The degree of wave attenuation primarily depends on the configuration of the breakwater, the water depth and the incident wave conditions. The hydrodynamic performance of such free surface breakwaters is the subject of this thesis. Semicircular breakwaters mounted on a low-crested rubble mound structure were successfully built for harbour protection in Japan and China. However, the concept of having semicircular structures as free surface breakwaters has not yet been explored by the research community. As a result, this research is initiated with the aim of developing a free surface semicircular breakwater (SCB) that would serve as an anti-reflection barrier and provide reasonably good wave protection to coastal and marine infrastructures. To meet this research goal, a free surface SCB models were constructed and tested in a wave flume under various wave conditions. The experiments were conducted in three stages. For the first stage, the SCB model was initially tested without any perforations on the curved surface (i.e. a solid SCB) for different depths of immersion from the still water level in the wave flume. For the second stage, the front curved wall of the model was subsequently perforated with rectangular openings of different dimensions, producing front wall porosity of 9, 18 and 27%. Following this, two rows of rectangular openings near the crest of the rear curved wall were provided so as to facilitate water infiltration and escape of the run-up waves. For the third stage, additional effort was made to extend the draft of the breakwater by adding a wave screen at the front or/and rear. The screen porosity was 25, 40 and 50%. The hydrodynamic characteristics of the SCB models were investigated in both regular and irregular seas through a series of systematic experimental programme. The water surface elevations were measured at different locations upstream and downstream of the models to determine the coefficients of wave transmission (CT), reflection (CR) and energy dissipation (CL) as well as the wave climate coefficients in front and inside the breakwater chamber. The horizontal wave forces exerted on the SCB models and the wave screen(s) were also measured and subsequently normalised to yield the force coefficients in the analysis. These hydrodynamic coefficients for the respective test cases are presented and discussed in this thesis. The experimental results revealed that even though the solid SCB was a better wave attenuator than the perforated ones, it produced a considerable amount of wave reflection. The perforated SCB with 9% porosity of the front wall (denoted as SCB9) outperformed the other perforated breakwater models; however, it produced high wave transmission when the draft was limited and subjected to longer period waves. Hence, wave screens were added to further enhance the performance of the SCB9. The SCB9 with double screens of 25% porosity was found to provide the highest hydraulic performance. Empirical equations were developed using a multiple regression technique to provide design formulae for wave transmission, wave reflection and horizontal wave forces. The proposed empirical equations showed good agreement with the experimental data. These equations are intended to be of direct use to engineers in predicting the hydrodynamic performance of free surface SCBs. However, sensible engineering judgement must be taken while using these equations as they are based on small scale laboratory tests.