AbstractThe combined action of environmental forcing (waves, coastal currents, sediment transport, e.t.c.), the continuously decreasing supply of coastal areas with sediment from rivers, as well as the intense anthropogenic activity, results in the appearance of severe erosion problems in coastal areas and constantly decreasing beach width. A frequently used coastal protection measure is the construction of detached breakwaters parallel to the coastline. Detached breakwaters have a direct effect on the incoming waves, which contributes to the control of coastal sediment transport, hence the morphodynamics of the coastal bed. There are many examples of such structures, the majority of which are emerged breakwaters. Recently, interest has been directed towards the construction of low-crested (LC) and submerged breakwaters due to the reduced construction cost and a more effective harmonization with the natural environment. These structures are characterized by wave overtopping and breaking over their crest in addition to all other coastal processes that are involved with emerged breakwaters. For the proper design of such structures, one critical aspect is the behavior of the induced flow in their vicinity due to their presence. To this purpose, several studies have been carried out in recent years. In particular, Petti et al. (1994) studied experimentally the large scale vortices developed by waves breaking above a submerged breakwater. Mory and Hamm (1997) performed measurements of wave height, surface elevation and wave generated currents around a detached breakwater for incoming regular and irregular waves. Kramer et al. (2005) performed a series of experimental measurements in order to study the waves - LC structure interaction, in terms of flow velocity and turbulence developing around such structures within the European Project DE.LO.S. Garcia et al. (2004), Losada et al. (2005), Johnson et al. (2005) e.t.c. used the database created within the DE.LO.S. project to develop and validate numerical codes for the simulation of wave-induced flow around LC breakwaters. The aim of the present study was the experimental study of the flow developed by waves in the vicinity of an LC rubble mound breakwater with crest level at the water line (zero freeboard). The geometrical scale of the physical model was 1/30. The breakwater was placed on a beach of constant slope 1/15, which is typical of steep beaches in Greece.
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