Ole Secher Madsen


The possible effect on the stability of a porous sand bed of the flow induced within the bed during the passage of near-breaking or breaking waves is considered. It is found that the horizontal flow rather than the vertical flow within the bed may affect its stability. An approximate analysis, used in geotechnical computations of slope stability, indicates that a momentary bed failure is likely to occur during the passage of the steep front slope of a near-breaking wave. Experimental results for the pressure gradient along the bottom under near-breaking waves are presented. These results indicate that the pressure gradient is indeed of sufficient magnitude to cause the momentary failure suggested by the theoretical analysis. The loss of stability of the bed material due to the flow induced within the bed itself may affect the amount of material set in motion during the passage of a near-breaking or breaking wave, in particular, in model tests employing light weight bed material. The failure mechanism considered here is also used as the basis for a hypothesis for the depth of disturbance of the bed in the surf zone. The flow induced in a porous bed is concluded to be an important mechanism which should be considered when dealing with the wave-sediment interaction in the surf zone.


bed stability; bed; breaking waves; sandy bottom

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