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Experimental study on vegetation flexibility as control parameter for wave damping and velocity structure

Thomas van Veelen, Tom Fairchild Orcid Logo, Dominic Reeve Orcid Logo, Harshinie Karunarathna Orcid Logo

Coastal Engineering, Volume: 157, Start page: 103648

Swansea University Authors: Thomas van Veelen, Tom Fairchild Orcid Logo, Dominic Reeve Orcid Logo, Harshinie Karunarathna Orcid Logo

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Abstract

Vegetation can contribute to coastal defence by damping incoming waves. However, prior studies have shown that attenuation varies greatly among plant species. Plant flexibility is a mechanical property that is commonly omitted, but varies greatly between shrubs and grasses on salt marshes. Therefore...

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Published in: Coastal Engineering
ISSN: 0378-3839
Published: Elsevier BV 2020
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa53312
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Abstract: Vegetation can contribute to coastal defence by damping incoming waves. However, prior studies have shown that attenuation varies greatly among plant species. Plant flexibility is a mechanical property that is commonly omitted, but varies greatly between shrubs and grasses on salt marshes. Therefore, we present an experimental study in a laboratory wave flume with artificial vegetation that differs in flexibility only. We measured wave attenuation and water particle velocities around rigid and flexible salt marsh vegetation. Waves were measured using a series of gauges and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) was used to measure spatio-temporal variations of water particle velocities in the - plane around the vegetation. Our results show that flexible vegetation attenuates waves up to 70% less than rigid vegetation due to swaying of flexible plants. Furthermore, we find that rigid vegetation modifies the velocity structure, whereas flexible vegetation does not. Specifically, a mean current in the direction of wave propagation develops around the canopy and the horizontal particle velocities are amplified directly above the canopy. These results indicate that plant flexibility is a key parameter in the wave-vegetation interaction that controls wave damping and the velocity structure.
Keywords: Salt marsh vegetation; Wave damping; Plant flexibility; PIV-Measurements; Flow velocities
College: College of Engineering
Funders: UKRI, NE/N013573/1
Start Page: 103648