Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Making waves: how UCL research could minimise the impact of future tsunami

02.07.2007
For the first time, a team of experts is preparing to create tsunami in a controlled environment in order to study their effects on buildings and coastlines - ultimately paving the way for the design of new structures better able to withstand their impact. Ahead of today’s (Monday 2nd) Coastal Structures 2007 International Conference Dr Tiziana Rossetto, UCL Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, unveiled plans to develop an innovative new tsunami generator capable of creating scaled-down versions of the devastating waves. The UCL team will be working with marine engineering specialists HR Wallingford (HRW) throughout the project.

“Tsunami are water waves generated by earthquakes, underwater landslides, volcanic eruptions or major debris slides,” said Dr Rossetto. “The waves travel across oceans with small vertical displacements and in open water you could easily bob over one without noticing. It’s when the waves approach the coastline, hit shallower water, slow down, and grow taller that you get the huge wall of water that people visualise when you mention a tsunami.

“The main gap in our knowledge is about what happens when the tsunami wave approaches the nearshore region and then runs inland. These flow processes cannot be simplified using mathematical models because of the complex interaction that takes place with beaches, sediment, coastal defences and then in and around buildings.

“It is possible for the whole process to be simulated with hydraulic models, but to get meaningful data the tsunami wave has to be accurately generated in the first place. Conventional wave generators haven’t been able to replicate tsunami because of the unusually long wavelength that is required.”

Professor William Allsop of HRW said: “Our new machine will control the flow of a large mass of water by using air suction within an inverted tank. We have used this technology over many years to make model tides in large scale models and our collaboration with UCL means we will be able to produce a unique research facility.”

The new tsunami generator will be able to create multiple waves, replicating the three or four peaks experienced during the Boxing Day tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean in 2004. The tsunami will pass down a 45m long flume at realistic wavelengths, mimicking the characteristics of waves which have passed from deep water (approx. 200m) into shallow water (20m – 50m) as they approach the coast. The wave flume will be equipped to measure coastal processes, inundation and wave forces as the tsunami travels up a shelving seabed, breeches the coastline and flows inland.

After the initial series of experiments, a team of researchers from UCL and HRW will go on to examine the effects of retreating and repeated waves on seawalls and beaches. The tests will measure the force exerted by the waves on representative buildings and quantify the wave’s ability to erode the coast, potentially destabilising structures completely.

The tsunami experiments will take place at HR Wallingford’s laboratories in Oxfordshire and construction of the generator is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2008. UCL and HRW plan to make the facility available to international teams of researchers in autumn 2009.

David Weston | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Cyclic change within magma reservoirs significantly affects the explosivity of volcanic eruptions
30.11.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>