Validation of pressure-impulse theory for standing wave impact loading on vertical hydraulic structures with short overhangs

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The applicability of pressure-impulse theory is evaluated for predicting wave impact loading magnitudes for non-breaking standing wave impacts on vertical hydraulic structures with relatively short overhangs. To this end, tests were carried out on a schematized but realistic configuration with low steepness regular wave impacts on a straight overhang perpendicular to a vertical wall. This paper aims to fill the existing knowledge gap on this type of wave impact with reliable and simple expressions. Pressure-impulses and force-impulses are the wave impact loading magnitudes considered in this study, which are defined as the integral of the impulsive pressures/forces over time during a wave impact. These impulses can be used to determine the resulting stresses in a structure for sudden, impulsive loads. The proposed theoretical model is based on the pressure-impulse theory and validated with laboratory experiments. The laboratory tests are done with regular waves for relatively short overhangs, with ratios of wave length to overhang length between 12.1 and 43.6, and ratios of overhang height to overhang length of 3 and 6. Thus, the theory is verified for conditions where the wave impact takes place along the full length of the overhang. From the experimental results, a mean effective bounce-back factor β=1.17 is obtained, accounting for the bounce-back effect of entrapped air and other secondary sources of discrepancies between theoretical and experimental results. The standard deviation of β for all the different tests is σβ=0.11. This method seems suitable for carrying out preliminary loading estimations, including the pressure-impulse profile at the wall and the total force-impulse at the wall. This study also shows that the force-impulse is a more stable magnitude compared with the force peaks, with about half the relative standard deviation. The impulses predicted by this model are recommended to be coupled with fluid-structure interaction models for analysing the response of the loaded structure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 103702
Number of pages14
JournalCoastal Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Hydraulic structures
  • Impulsive loading
  • Overhangs
  • Physical modelling
  • Pressure-impulse
  • Wave impacts


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