Numerical modelling research on Belgian coastal defence

Numerical modelling research on Belgian coastal defence


The Masterplan for Flanders Costal Safety describes the need for additional coastal defence to protect the coast against extreme storm events. The plan recommends  a continuous beach nourishment program, combined with the construction of a new wave return wall.

To check and optimize proposed wave return wall designs, physical hydraulic model tests have been carried out in the large wave flume at Flanders Hydraulics Research* laboratory. Numerical analysis is carried out to evaluate the wave impact of superstorms on coastal dikes, beach nourishment and harbour entrances.

Antea Group was assigned to carry out a study to obtain estimates on parameters which characterize wave overtopping events for proposed wave return wall designs. The study  consisted of the following components:

  • Design and construction of a scale model of the existing foreshore profile and sea-dike;
  • Installation of proposed wave return walls on top of the dike;
  • Measurement of landward overtopping discharge over the sea-dike/wave return wall;
  • Measurement of horizontal impact forces, uplift forces and the related overturning moments on the wave return wall;
  • Measurement of wave heights at the top of the sea-dike and at other locations offshore;
  • Visualization of experiments with digital video recording;Numerical analysis of test results;
  • Analysis of the results and feedback to the design team, in an iterative modus.

The services provided by Antea Group included physical hydraulic model tests as well as numerical analysis with the help of different software tools (Telemac, Delft3D, Xbeach, SWAN).

*Flanders Hydraulics Research investigates the impact of human activity and nature on water systems and the consequences for navigation.