wave theory
finite amplitude

How to Cite

Wiegel, R. L., & Johnson, J. W. (1950). ELEMENTS OF WAVE THEORY. Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 1(1), 2. https://doi.org/10.9753/icce.v1.2


The first known mathematical solution for finite height, periodic waves of stable form was developed by Gerstner (1802). From equations that were developed, Gerstner (1802) arrived at the conclusion that the surface curve was trochoidal in form. Froude (1862) and Rankine (1863) developed the theory but in the opposite manner, i.e., they started with the assumption of a trochoidal form and then developed their equations from this curve. The theory was developed for waves in water of infinite depth with the orbits of the water particles being circular, decreasing in geometrical progression as the distance below the water surface increased in arithmetical progression. Recent experiments (Wiegel, 1950) have shown that the surface profile, represented by the trochoidal equations (as well as the first few terms of Stokes' theory), closely approximates the actual profiles for waves traveling over a horizontal bottom. However the theory necessitates molecular rotation of the particles, while the manner in which waves are formed by conservative forces necessitates irrotational motion.
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