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Energy dissipation in two-dimensional unsteady plunging breakers and an eddy viscosity model



An experimental study of energy dissipation in two-dimensional unsteady plunging breakers and an eddy viscosity model to simulate the dissipation due to wave breaking are reported in this paper. Measured wave surface elevations are used to examine the characteristic time and length scales associated with wave groups and local breaking waves, and to estimate and parameterize the energy dissipation and dissipation rate due to wave breaking. Numerical tests using the eddy viscosity model are performed and we find that the numerical results well capture the measured energy loss. In our experiments, three sets of characteristic time and length scales are defined and obtained: global scales associated with the wave groups, local scales immediately prior to breaking onset and post-breaking scales. Correlations among these time and length scales are demonstrated. In addition, for our wave groups, wave breaking onset predictions using the global and local wave steepnesses are found based on experimental results. Breaking time and breaking horizontal length scales are determined with high-speed imaging, and are found to depend approximately linearly on the local wave steepness. The two scales are then used to determine the energy dissipation rate, which is the ratio of the energy loss to the breaking time scale. Our experimental results show that the local wave steepness is highly correlated with the measured dissipation rate, indicating that the local wave steepness may serve as a good wave-breaking-strength indicator. To simulate the energy dissipation due to wave breaking, a simple eddy viscosity model is proposed and validated with our experimental measurements. Under the small viscosity assumption, the leading-order viscous effect is incorporated into the free-surface boundary conditions. Then, the kinematic viscosity is replaced with an eddy viscosity to account for energy loss. The breaking time and length scales, which depend weakly on wave breaking strength, are applied to evaluate the magnitude of the eddy viscosity using dimensional analysis. The estimated eddy viscosity is of the order of 10−3 m2s−1 and demonstrates a strong dependence on wave breaking strength. Numerical simulations with the eddy viscosity estimation are performed to compare to the experimental results. Good agreement as regards energy dissipation due to wave breaking and surface profiles after wave breaking is achieved, which illustrates that the simple eddy viscosity model functions effectively.


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Energy dissipation in two-dimensional unsteady plunging breakers and an eddy viscosity model



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