Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 985–1004 | Cite as

Impulse wave run-over: experimental benchmark study for numerical modelling

  • Helge Fuchs
  • Valentin Heller
  • Willi H. Hager
Research Article


This research intends to provide a detailed data basis for numerical modelling of impulse waves. Three tests are described involving a rectangular wave channel, in which a trapezoidal ‘breakwater’ was inserted to study wave run-over. In addition, a reference test is also described, in which the breakwater was removed. Two-dimensional impulse waves were generated by means of subaerial granular slides accelerated by a pneumatic landslide generator into the water body. Wave propagation and run-over over the artificial breakwater are documented by a set of high-quality photographs. Water surface profiles were recorded using capacitance wave gages upstream and downstream of the breakwater, and velocity vector fields were determined for the run-over zone by means of Particle Image Velocimetry. The measurements are compared with predictive formulae for wave features and wave non-linearity. The present data set involves both simple channel topography and wave features to allow for numerical simulations under basic laboratory conditions.


Particle Image Velocimetry Breakwater Smooth Particle Hydrodynamic Wave Crest Wave Profile 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of symbols


Wave amplitude (L)

\( \overline{a} \)

Test-averaged wave amplitude (L)


Maximum wave amplitude (L)


Relative maximum wave amplitude (–)


Slide width (L)


Wave celerity (LT−1)


Wave celerity of primary wave (LT−1)


Wave celerity of secondary wave (LT−1)


Grain diameter (L)


Slide Froude number (–)


Gravitational acceleration (LT−2)


Still water depth (L)


Wave height (L)


Wave length (L)


Slide mass (M)


Relative slide mass (–)


Impulse product parameter (–)


Slide thickness (L)


Relative slide thickness (–)


Time (T)


Wave period (T)


Wave type product (–)


Ursell number (–)


Particle displacement velocity (LT−1)


Slide impact velocity (LT−1)

\( {\rlap{-} V}_{\text{s}} \)

Bulk slide volume (L3)


Breakwater height (L)


Streamwise coordinate (L)


Streamwise distance of maximum wave amplitude (L)


Relative distance of maximum wave amplitude (–)


Vertical coordinate (L)


Slide impact angle (°)


Dynamic bed friction angle (°)


Temporal offset (T)


Internal friction angle (°)


Water surface displacement (L)


Slide profile (L)


Grain density (ML−3)


Bulk slide density (ML−3)


Capacitance wave gage


Laser distance sensor


Particle Image Velocimetry





The first author was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, Grant 200020_119717/1.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW)ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.School of Civil Engineering and the EnvironmentUniversity of SouthamptonHighfield, SouthamptonUK

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