• Maria Clavero
  • Pedro Folgueras
  • Pilar Diaz-Carrasco
  • Miguel Ortega-Sanchez
  • Miguel A. Losada


In the 14th ICCE, Battjes (1974) showed that a single similarity parameter only, embodying both the effects of slope angle and incident wave steepness, was important for many aspects of waves breaking on impermeable slopes, and suggested to call it the "Iribarren number", denoted by "Ir". Ahrens and McCartney (1975) verified the usefulness of Ir to describe run-up and stability on rough permeable slopes. Since then, many researchers applied Ir to characterize and to develop formulae for the design of breakwaters and to verify their stability. On the other hand, depending on their typology, breakwaters reflect, dissipate, transmit, and radiate incident wave energy. Partial standing wave patterns are likely to occur at all types of breakwater, thus playing an important role in defining the wave regime in front of, near (seaward and leeward), and inside the breakwater. The characteristics of the porous medium, relative grain size D/L and relative width, Aeq/L2, are relevant magnitudes in that wave pattern (Vilchez et al. 2016), being D the grain diameter, L the wave length and Aeq the porous area per unit section under the mean water level. Aeq/L2 is a scattering parameter controlling the averaged transformation of the wave inside the porous section of the structure. For a vertical porous breakwater (Type A), Aeq is simply B · h, and for a constant depth, the scattering parameter is reduced to B/L, which is the relative breakwater width.


Ahrens and McCartney (1975): Wave period effect on the stability of rip-rap, ASCE, PCEng. in the Oceans/III, Vol.2, pp. 1019-1034.

Battjes (1974): Surf Similarity, ICCE, pp. 466-480.

Dalrymple, Losada and Martin (1991): Reflection and transmission from porous structures under oblique wave attack, J. Fluid Mech. 224, pp. 625-644.

Gomez-Martin and Medina (2014). Heterogeneous Packing and Hydraulic Stability of Cube and Cubipod Armor Units. J. Waterway, Port, Coastal, Ocean Eng., 140(1): 100-108

Iribarren and Nogales (1949): Protection des Ports, Section II, XVIIth Int. Nav. Cong., Lisbon, pp. 31-80.

Vilchez, Clavero and Losada (2016): Hydraulic perfomance of different non-overtopped breakwater types under 2D wave attack, CENG, 107, pp. 34-52.

How to Cite
Clavero, M., Folgueras, P., Diaz-Carrasco, P., Ortega-Sanchez, M., & Losada, M. A. (2018). A SIMILARITY PARAMETER FOR BREAKWATERS: THE MODIFIED IRIBARREN NUMBER. Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 1(36), structures.28. https://doi.org/10.9753/icce.v36.structures.28