Journal of Applied Mathematics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 246146, 19 pages
Research Article

Simulation of Wave Overtopping of Maritime Structures in a Numerical Wave Flume

Maritime Engineering Laboratory, Technical University of Catalonia, 08034 Barcelona, Spain

Received 19 February 2012; Revised 23 April 2012; Accepted 2 May 2012

Academic Editor: Armin Troesch

Copyright © 2012 Tiago C. A. Oliveira et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A numerical wave flume based on the particle finite element method (PFEM) is applied to simulate wave overtopping for impermeable maritime structures. An assessment of the performance and robustness of the numerical wave flume is carried out for two different cases comparing numerical results with experimental data. In the first case, a well-defined benchmark test of a simple low-crested structure overtopped by regular nonbreaking waves is presented, tested in the lab, and simulated in the numerical wave flume. In the second case, state-of-the-art physical experiments of a trapezoidal structure placed on a sloping beach overtopped by regular breaking waves are simulated in the numerical wave flume. For both cases, main overtopping events are well detected by the numerical wave flume. However, nonlinear processes controlling the tests proposed, such as nonlinear wave generation, energy losses along the wave propagation track, wave reflection, and overtopping events, are reproduced with more accuracy in the first case. Results indicate that a numerical wave flume based on the PFEM can be applied as an efficient tool to supplement physical models, semiempirical formulations, and other numerical techniques to deal with overtopping of maritime structures.