Numerical Tools For Wave Overtopping At Rubble Mound Breakwaters With Submerged Berms


  • DANIELE CELLI University of L’Aquila, Italy
  • MARCELLO DI RISIO University of L’Aquila, Italy
  • MYRTA CASTELLINO “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy
  • PAOLO DE GIROLAMO “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy



Wave overtopping, Rubble mound breakwaters, Submerged berms, Numerical modeling, Experimental modeling


In the era of climate change, the adaptation of existing coastal structures as a response to potential increasing loads, has

become a trending topic in coastal engineering. The combination of sea level rise, storm surge, tides and waves is going to dramatically increase the wave overtopping.

In this context, this research is focused on the evaluation of wave overtopping for conventional rubble mound breakwaters, modified by the introduction of a submerged berm. Recent studies illustrated how the introduction of emerged berms on the seaward slope reduces the wave overtopping. The goal then becomes to turn the spotlight on the submerged berms, whose effectiveness has yet to be attested, although it has proven useful in reducing wave loads on the armour layer and seabed pressure under the structure. Therefore, the reliability of two different numerical models in detecting overtopping phenomenon have been assessed.

IHFOAM and SWASH have been used (see Figure 1). The first one can solve both Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes and the Volume Averaged Reynolds Averaged Navier–Stokes equations. The second one solves the non-linear shallow water equations with a non-hydrostatic pressure term, representing a simplified form of the Navier-Stokes equations, with associated limited computational cost. The numerical models have been validated based on experimental tests carried out in a wave flume at the University of L’Aquila.




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