Physical Modelling Tests With Flexible Woody Vegetation Mimics


  • SU A. KALLOE Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands
  • BAS HOFLAND Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands
  • BREGJE K. VAN WESENBEECK Deltares, the Netherlands



Willow trees, Wave damping, 3D-printed tree mimics, Branch motion, Flexible vegetation


Riparian forests in front of dikes can dampen incoming waves and thereby contribute to flood safety. In real-scale flume experiments with live pollard willow trees (forming a 40-m-long forest), it was observed that during storm conditions, a maximum reduction of 20 % in incoming wave height could be achieved (van Wesenbeeck, et al., 2022). Notably, this amount of wave damping occurred at a water depth of 3 meters, aligning with the section of the trees with the maximum frontal-surface area. For a larger water depth, measured wave damping however declined. This is potentially partly caused by the natural tapering form of the trees. Typically, trees are characterized by smaller branch diameters and more flexible branches higher up in the canopy (McMahon & Kronauer, 1976); and flexible vegetation mimics are known to dampen less than rigid mimics due to motion (Van Veelen, T, Reeve, & Karunarathna, 2020). Hence, both the frontal-surface area and branch rigidity decrease along the height of the willow trees, potentially leading to less wave damping by the forest when subject to large waves at higher water levels.




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