R.L. Miller, S. Leverette, J. O'Sullivan, J. Tochko, K. Theriault


Field measurements were made of the vertical distribution of impact pressures exerted by breaking waves. Four distinct types are recognized and compared. These are near-breaking wave, plunging breaker, spilling breaker and post-breaking bore. The measurements were obtained by placing a 6 foot aluminum flat plate, backed by a cylinder in the surf zone, so that the fiat faced the approaching breakers. Five sensors were placed at one foot intervals on the flat. The sensors consisted of strain gage mounted aluminum diaphragms. Results indicated that impact pressure is significantly influenced by breaker type. The bore generated the largest impact pressures, followed in decreasing order by plunging breaker, spilling breaker and near breaking wave. In the vertical array, the largest impact pressures were recorded at or near the top, except for the bore where the reverse occurred. A qualitative explanation is given of various phenomena associated with impact pressures, by considering breaker mechanics.


impact pressure; surf zone; field measurements

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