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Three breaking solitary waves

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Motivated to understand the interaction between the successively breaking waves, we measured detailed flow field using a train of three solitary waves breaking on a beach with 1/20 slope. The nominal wave height of the waves is 43 mm in 200 mm depth in the constant depth region, resulting in the wave period of about 2 s. The waves were separated from one another by about 1.9 times the wave period and this separation time was chosen so that intense interaction between the return flow of the preceding wave and the breaking incoming wave is ensured. By carefully studying the water surface profiles obtained from the six wave gauges as well as the raw PIV images, we learned that the intensity of the interaction is positively correlated with the undulations riding over the reflected wave. Those undulations results from the solitons that are generated during the collision between the return flow and the incoming wave. These strong interactions are the sources of the turbulence as measured in the flow field. Also we suggest that the gradient of the Froude number based on the depth-averaged velocity and the total depth could be a robust breaking criterion both for the incoming wave and for the return flow. Furthermore, we observed that the strong interaction incurs impressive particle resuspension into the water body and this was quantitiavely visualised using the skewness of the vertical distribution of light intensity.

This talk is part of the Fluid Mechanics (CUED) series.

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