The research line on breakwater stability is linked to the new developments in PFEM formulation carried out in the frame of SAYOM Project. These developments aim to accurate model the movement of solids under wave action.
Also related with the application of PFEM in harbor engineering, some collaboration opportunities with Chinese partners have come up to CIMNE, what shows the great opportunities arising in relation with the application of PFEM in breakwater design.
Generally, a preliminary design of these structures is made using experimental formulations, and later this design is tested in laboratory. The application of PFEM will allow the reduction of the amount of tests needed, and perhaps the medium term elimination of the need of any test of this kind.
The work done has focused on the development of an alternative designing methodology. It is based on the definition of a critical drag velocity: if the velocity of water in the vicinity of the blocks is higher than this threshold, their stability is compromised. Comparing this velocity with the maximum generated by a certain swell, some conclusions could be drawn about the breakwater stability in that situation.
Preliminary results of the stability analysis of a breakwater agree with the predictions given by van der Meer's formula. Following pictures are a sample of the calculations developed under this line.
Figure 1. Velocity field generated by an irregular swell in the vicinity of a breakwater. 2D case.