This paper discusses wave loadings on vertical and composite walls, and related maritime / coastal structures. It presents new data on the magnitudes and probabilities of pulsating and impact loads from hydraulic model studies on a wide range of wall configurations, and compares the results with present prediction methods. Extensive model tests measured wave loads using realistic random wave conditions, without artificially forcing wave breaking or taking an extreme response from repeated regular waves. Results presented here identify the parameter regions within which impact or pulsating loads may occur, and give example distributions of pressures. Results of these studies are intended to be used by engineers analysing the stability of vertical or composite walls in deep water, in harbours, near the coast or along the shoreline. Prediction methods and the test results discussed here may be used to estimate wave loadings on a variety of structures, existing or in design.


One of the most common structure types exposed to wave action is the vertical wall. These are used around the world to protect storage tanks or working areas, to form breakwaters or quays where vessels require shelter or moorings. Wave loads on these structures are often critical for their design, yet the reliability with which such wave loads may be predicted is surprisingly low. This paper presents new information / prediction methods for wave loads on these structures. The forms and magnitudes of wave pressures on marine I coastal structures vary significantly, particularly where different forms of breaking influence the process. It has been useful to divide wave pressures I forces into different loads types by the type of wave collision with the structure. Pulsating loads are slowly-varying, and effective pressures are close to hydrostatic equivalents. Impact loads are often substantially greater and vary rapidly, both spatially and temporally.

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