Small-Scale Experiments’ Ability To Augment Large Lab Testing For Designing Nature-Based And Hybrid Solutions For Coastal Flood Hazard Mitigation


  • DAN MCMANN United States Naval Academy, United States
  • JORDAN KECK United States Naval Academy, United States
  • TORI TOMICZEK United States Naval Academy, United States
  • PEDRO LOMONACO Oregon State University, United States
  • DAN COX Oregon State University, United States
  • MARGARET LIBBY Oregon State University, United States



Overtopping, Rhizophora Mangroves, Scaled Physical Model Experiments, Nature-based Solutions, Froude Similitude


Mangroves and other natural coastal defenses have the potential to augment or replace traditional engineered coastal structures in preventing adverse events such as wave overtopping. Natural, or “green” systems may reduce maintenance costs, reduce sediment erosion, and increase biodiversity compared to traditional “gray” infrastructure built from stone and concrete. To effectively inform the design of hybrid green-gray infrastructure, experimental results must be reliable, but testing at 1:1 scale is time-consuming, expensive, and available at only a few facilities worldwide. This study addresses a knowledge gap in defining the nature of the interactions between green and gray coastal defenses with a focus on overtopping and scaling experimental results. This study will compare data from mangrove-related experiments conducted at scales including 1:2 and 1:8 as part of a collaborative effort between Oregon State University (OSU) and the United States Naval Academy (USNA). The study aims to analyze this data and contribute to the joint compilation of a methodology for designing prototype-scale tests from small-scale experiments to identify the relative importance of friction and scaling effects between prototype and small-scale experiments. Testing conducted at USNA as part of this study included a 1:8 scale, 0.61m-wide (2ft.) flume that replicates the conditions of 1:2 scale experiments at Oregon State University. The experimental setup includes a model Rhizophora mangrove forest placed in front of a seawall, behind which overtopping is measured as volume per unit length either computed from overtopped water weight or directly measured by overtopped volume. Mangroves are modeled as central trunks with stilt roots, as this study focuses on the effects of the root structures on overtopping. Waves generated for the 1:8 experiments include regular waves with heights between 5cm and 10cm and periods between 1 and 2 seconds, scaled according to Froude similitude. Implications of scaled-up measurements of overtopping are also discussed.




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