Case study: CFD for better wave impact predictions - Femto Engineering - Femto Engineering

Wave impact on rigid walls

This case study explains how CFD is used to analyse the behavior of waves on solid walls.


The Dutch have been battling water since ancient history. With nearly 17% of the country lying below the rising sea-level, the Dutch had to continuously develop innovative ways to keep dry feet. Water is a great force of nature, it comes in large volume and ocean waves have huge impacts which can cause a lot of damage. Battling water is no easy feat, the struggle against water requires a lot of engineering effort and this makes the Dutch pioneers in water management. Not only the coast is subjected to water, but large ships, offshore oil platforms and other coastal structures such as dikes experience the load of these impacts. This case study shows how CFD is used to better understand these impacts and how to better equip certain structures against these impacts.

The case

It is known that when an extreme wave of water hits a structure, high pressure peaks tend to occur. Femto Engineering set out to develop a method to accurately simulate these high pressure peaks in a wave using CFD. These simulations are then used to estimate the height of these pressure peaks and their effects on solid structures. To accurately simulate the interaction between fluids and solid structures a coupled approach of the Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) for the fluid dynamics is combined with finite elements for the structural parts of the model. This type of simulation is called fluid-structure interaction (FSI).

The results

The models showed that the pressure peak is located at the highest point of impact in the wave. The following images illustrate this:

These images show the wave over a time-span of 3.5 seconds. The pressure peak is indicated by red and yellow in the third and fourth image, at the top of the wave where it hits the wall. Engineers at Femto were able to successfully develop and run the model used for this analysis. This method can be applied to any kind of case where fluids interact with solid bodies. Multiple studies have been conducted and are still being conducted on the matter, since knowledge is still limited. We keep looking for ways to develop and improve our modeling and analysis. The video below shows a FSI rendering in action:

We hope you enjoyed this case study. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions related to this case study or our services.

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July 9, 2019
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