Measuring damage in physical model tests of rubble mounds

Bas Hofland, Paulo Rosa-Santos, Francisco Taveira-Pinto, E. de Almeida Sousa, Rute Lemos, A. Mendonça, C Juana Fortes

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This paper studies novel ways to evaluate armour damage in physical models of coastal structures. High-resolution damage data for reference rubble mound breakwaters obtained under the HYDRALAB+ joint-research project are analysed and discussed. These tests are used to analyse the way to describe damage, the influence of the sequence of testing, and touches on the possible influence of sea level rise. Results of two test programmes were used. Firstly, 3D physical model tests carried out at the University of Porto, in cooperation with Deltares, were used. Here a wide breakwater trunk was used for statistical reasons. Additionally, 2D test results from LNEC were analysed. Tests for a sea level rise scenario resulted in less damage to the seaside slope. In addition, clear differences between “cumulative damage” and “rebuild” test series were noticed. However, significant scatter was also observed in the result of tests carried out under identical conditions. It was also concluded that the damage to the trunk was lower in the tests with short-crested waves. The design values for the damage depth E2D proposed by Hofland et al. (2011) were partly in line with the experimental results presented. Since the relation between S and the depth of damage E does not hold true for non-standard cases, it seems better to use a parameter based on the local damage depth when testing such a structure. The reliability of a damage number for a test on the stability of a trunk can be improved by either increasing the relative size (width) of the test section or repeating the test.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCoasts, Marine Structures and Breakwaters 2017
Subtitle of host publicationLiverpool, 5-7 September 2017
PublisherICE - Institution of Civil Engineering
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2017
Event11th Coasts, Marine Structures and Breakwaters Conference - Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Sept 20177 Sept 2017
Conference number: 11


Conference11th Coasts, Marine Structures and Breakwaters Conference
Abbreviated titleICE-breakwaters conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Rubble mound
  • breakwater stability


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