Luca Cavallaro, Fabio Dentale, Giovanna Donnarumma, Enrico Foti, Rosaria E. Musumeci, Eugenio Pugliese Carratelli


Until recently, physical models were the only way to investigate into the details of breakwaters behavior under wave attack. From the numerical point of view, the complexity of the fluid dynamic processes involved has so far hindered the direct application of Navier-Stokes equations within the armour blocks, due to the complex geometry and the presence of strongly non stationary flows, free boundaries and turbulence. In the present work the most recent CFD technology is used to provide a new and more reliable approach to the design analysis of breakwaters, especially in connection with run-up and overtopping. The solid structure is simulated within the numerical domain by overlapping individual virtual elements to form the empty spaces delimited by the blocks. Thus, by defining a fine computational grid, an adequate number of nodes is located within the interstices and a complete solution of the full hydrodynamic equations is carried out. In the work presented here the numerical simulations are carried out by integrating the three-dimensional Reynolds Average Navier-Stokes Equations coupled with the RNG turbulence model and a Volume of Fluid Method used to handle the dynamics of the free surface. The aim of the present work is to investigate the reliability of this approach as a design tool. Two different breakwaters are considered, both located in Southern Sicily: one a typical quarry stone breakwater, another a more complex design incorporating a spill basin and an armoured layer made up by Coreloc® blocks.


rubble-mound breakwater; numerical simulation; RANS/VOF; overtopping

Full Text:



Altomare, C., X.F. Gironella, A.J.F. Crespo, J.M. Domínguez, M. Gómez - Gesteira, and B.D. Rogers. 2012. Improved accuracy in modelling armoured breakwaters with SPH, 7th international SPHERIC workshop, Prato, Italy.

Chopakatla, S.C., T.C. Lippmann, and J.E. Richardson. 2008. Field verification of a computational fluid dynamics model for wave transformation and breaking in the surf zone, Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, and Ocean Engineering, 134-2, 71-81.

Christensen, E.D. 2006. Large eddy simulation of spilling and plunging breakers, Coastal Engineering, 53, 463–485.

Dentale, F., M. Monaco, and E. Pugliese Carratelli. 2008. A numerical assessment of scale effects on wave breaking modelling, 3rd SCACR International Short Course and Workshop on Applied Coastal Research, Lecce, Italy.

Dentale, F., E. Pugliese Carratelli, and S. Pane. 2009. Modellazione numerica del moto ondoso su barriere frangiflutti sommerse porose, Studi Costieri, 16, (In italian).

Dentale, F., S.D. Russo, E. Pugliese Carratelli, and S. Mascetti. 2010. A new numerical approach to study the wave motion within breakwaters and the armour stability, Marine technology reporter, 54, 34-37.

Dentale F., G. Donnarumma, and E. Pugliese Carratelli. 2012. Wave run up and reflection on tridimensional virtual breakwater, Journal of Hydrogeology & Hydrologic Engineering (in press).

Fang, Z., L. Cheng, and N. Zhang. 2010. Development of 3-D Numerical Wave Tank and Applications on Comb-Type Breakwater, 29th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering (OMAE2010), Shanghai, China.

Garcia, N., J.L. Lara, and I.J. Losada. 2004. 2-D numerical analysis of near-field flow at low-crested breakwaters, Coastal Engineering, 51(10), 991-1020.

Giarrusso, C.C., F. Dentale, and E. Pugliese Carratelli. 2003. On the stability of protected beaches, Sixth International Conference on Computer Modelling and Experimental Measurement of Seas and Coastal Regions, Coastal Engineering VI; Cadiz, Spain.


Goda Y., and Y. Suzuki. 1976. Estimation of incident and reflected waves in random wave experiments, Proceedings of 15th International Conference on Coastal Engineering, ASCE, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1, 828-845.

Gotoh, H., S. Shao, and T. Memita. 2004. SPH-LES Model for numerical investigation of wave interaction with partially immersed breakwater, Coastal Engineering Journal (JSCE), 46(1), 39-63.

Greben, J., K. Cooper, I.M. Gledhill, and R. De Villiers. 2008. Numerical modeling of structures of dolosse and their interaction with waves, Technical report, CSIR, Pretoria, South Africa.

Hafsia Z., B.H. Mehdij, H. Lamloumi, K. Maalel, and R. Zgolli. 2008. Linear and nonlinear numerical wave generation in viscous fluid, Phoenics News.

Hirt, C.W., and B.D. Nichols. 1981. Volume of fluid (VOF) method for the dynamics of free boundaries, Journal Comp. Physics, 39, 201–225.

Hsu, T.J., T. Sakakiyama, and P.L.F. Liu. 2002. A numerical model for wave motions and turbulence flows in front of a composite breakwater, Coastal Engineering, 46, 25– 50.

Javier, L., J.L. Lara, P. Higuera, M. Maza, M. del Jesus, I.J. Losada, and G. Barajas. 2012. Forces induced on a vertical breakwater by incident oblique waves, 33rd International Conference on Coastal Engineering (ICCE), Santander, Spain.

Karim, M.F., K. Tanimoto, and P.D. Hieu. 2009. Modeling and simulation of wave transformation in porous structures using VOF based two-phase flow model, Applied Mathematical Modeling, 33, 343–360.

Karim, M.F., and T. Tingsanchali. 2006. A coupled numerical model for simulation of wave breaking and hydraulic performances of a composite seawall, Ocean Engineering, 33, 773–787.

La Rocca C., R.E. Musumeci, G. Paratore, and E. Foti. 2010. Application of computer vision techniques for the optimization of a rubble mound breakwater, L'Acqua, 2/2010, 53-68 (in italian).

Lara, J.L., N. Garcia, and I.J. Losada. 2006. RANS modeling applied to random wave interaction with submerged permeable structures, Coastal Engineering, 53, 395–417.

Li, T., P. Troch, and J. De Rouck. 2004. Wave overtopping over a sea dike, Journal of Computational Physics,198, 686–726.

Lin, P., and P.L.F. Liu. 1998. A numerical study of breaking waves in the surf zone, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 359, 239-264.

Liu, P.L.F., and K. Al-Banaa. 2004. Solitary wave runup and force on a vertical barrier, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 505, 225-233.

Losada, I.J., J.L. Lara, R. Guanche, and J.M. Gonzalez-Ondina. 2008. Numerical analysis of wave overtopping of rubble mound breakwaters, Coastal Engineering, 55, 47–62.

Requejo, S., C.Vidal, and I.J. Losada. 2002. Modeling of wave loads and hydraulic performance of vertical permeable structures, Coastal Engineering, 46, 249–276.

Van der Meer, J.W., P. Tönjes, and H. de Waal. 1998. A code for dike height design and examination, Proceedings International Conference on Coastlines, Structures and Breakwaters, Institution of Civil Engineers, Thomas Telford, London, 5-19.

Viccione G., V. Bovolin, and E. Pugliese Carratelli. 2011. Short term variability of pressure distribution on vertical breakwaters using WCSPH, 3rd ECCOMAS Thematic Conference on Computational Methods in Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering (COMPDYN), Corfu, Greece.

Viccione G., V. Bovolin, and E. Pugliese Carratelli. 2012. Simulating fluid-structure interaction with SPH, Tenth International Conference of Numerical Analysis and Applied Mathematics (ICNAAM), Kos, Greece, in press.

Xiang J., J.P. Latham, A.Vire1, E. Anastasakil, C. Painl, and F. Milthaler. 2012. Simulation Tools For Numerical Breakwater Models Including Coupled Fluidity/Y3d Waves, 33rd International Conference on Coastal Engineering, (ICCE), Santander, Spain.