Laboratory and numerical study of dambreak-generated swash on impermeable slopes

T. O'Donoghue, Dubravka Pokrajac, L. J. Hondebrink

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New laboratory experiments have produced detailed measurements of hydrodynamics within swash generated by bore collapse on a steep beach. The experiments are based on a dambreak rig producing a highly repeatable, large-scale swash event, enabling detailed measurements of depths and velocities at a number of locations across the swash zone. Experiments were conducted on two beaches, differentiated by roughness. Results are presented for uprush shoreline motion, flow depths, depth-averaged velocity, velocity profiles and turbulence intensity. Estimates of the time- and spatially-varying bed shear stress are obtained via log-law fitting to the velocity profiles and are compared with the shear plate measurements of Barnes et al. (2009) for similar experimental conditions. Experimental results are compared with model predictions based on a NLSWE model with momentum loss parameterised using the simple quadratic stress law in terms of the depth-averaged velocity. Predicted and measured flow depths and depth-averaged velocities agree reasonably well for much of the swash period, but agreement is not good at the time of bore arrival and towards the end of the backwash. The parameterisation of total momentum loss via the quadratic stress law cannot adequately model the swash bed shear stress at these critical times. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-530
Number of pages18
JournalCoastal Engineering
Issue number5
Early online date6 Feb 2010
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


  • Swash
  • Laboratory experiments
  • Beaches
  • Dambreak
  • Shear stress
  • Numerical model
  • Particle image velocimetry
  • Sediment transport
  • Turbulence
  • Hydrodynamics


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