Characteristics of wave reflection spectra

James Sutherland, Tom O'Donoghue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Experimental results of irregular wave reflection from impermeable walls and rubble mound breakwaters suggest that there is a characteristic form of wave reflection spectrum. The results indicate that the reflection coefficient at a particular frequency within a random wave spectrum is determined by an Iribarren number based on that frequency. An empirical relationship between reflection coefficient and local, frequency-dependent Iribarren number is provided for both structure types, although the range of parameters used in the rubble mound tests is limited. Therefore, the reflection coefficient spectrum can be determined from the structure slope, frequency, incident significant wave height, and two fitted coefficients that vary with structure type. Specification of the reflection coefficient spectrum becomes more critical as the width of the incident wave spectrum increases and as the Iribarren number decreases. Otherwise, random wave reflection can be adequately determined using the bulk reflection coefficient across the frequency range of the incident sea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-311
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering
Issue number6
Early online date1 Nov 1998
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1998

Bibliographical note

The writers would like to acknowledge the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for their financial support of this project and HR Wallingford Ltd. for their cosponsorship of the U.K. CRF. Valuable input by the referees of the paper is also gratefully acknowledged.


  • Breakwater
  • Coastal structure
  • Wave property
  • Wave reflection
  • Wave spectrum


Dive into the research topics of 'Characteristics of wave reflection spectra'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this