Numerical simulation of solitary wave propagation over a steady current

Jisheng Zhang, Jinhai Zheng, Dongsheng Jeng, Yakun Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


A two-dimensional numerical model is developed to study the propagation of a solitary wave in the presence of a steady current flow. The numerical model is based on the Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations with a k-ε turbulence closure scheme and an internal wave-maker method. To capture the air-water interface, the volume of fluid (VOF) method is used in the numerical simulation. The current flow is initialized by imposing a steady inlet velocity on one computational domain end and a constant pressure outlet on the other end. The desired wave is generated by an internal wave maker. The propagation of a solitary wave traveling with a following/opposing current is simulated. The effects of the current velocity on the solitary-wave motion are investigated. The results show that the solitary wave has a smaller wave height, larger wave width, and higher traveling speed after interacting with a following current. Contrariwise, the solitary wave becomes higher with a smaller wave width and lower traveling speed with an opposing current. The regression equations for predicting the wave height, wave width, and traveling speed of the resulting solitary wave are for practical engineering applications. The impacts of the current flow on the induced velocity and the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) of a solitary wave are also investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number04014041
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of waterway, port, coastal, and ocean engineering
Issue number3
Early online date1 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • wave-current interaction
  • solitary wave
  • Reynolds-averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) model
  • numerical simulation


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