Turbulence and energy dissipations of surf-zone spilling breakers

Zhi Cheng Huang, Shih Chun Hsiao, Hwung Hweng Hwung, Kuang An Chang

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62 Scopus citations


A laboratory study on the turbulence and wave energy dissipations of spilling breakers in a surf zone is presented. Instantaneous velocity fields of propagating breaking waves on a 1/20 slope were measured using Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). Due to the large region of the evolving wave breaking generated turbulent flow, seven PIV fields of view (FOVs) were mosaicked to form a continuous flow field in the surf zone. Mean and turbulence quantities were extracted by ensemble averaging 25 repeated instantaneous measurements at each FOV. New results for distribution and evolution of turbulent kinetic energy, mean flow energy, and total energy across the surf zone were obtained from analyzing the data. The turbulence dissipation rate was estimated based on several different approaches. It was found that the vertical distribution of the turbulence dissipation rate decays exponentially from the crest level to the bottom. The resulting energy budget and energy flux were also calculated. The calculated total energy dissipation rate was compared to that based on a bore approximation. It was found that the ratio of turbulence dissipation rate to total energy dissipation rate was about 0.01 in the outer surf zone and increased to about 0.1 after the breaking waves transformed into developed turbulent bores in the inner surf zone. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-746
Number of pages14
JournalCoastal Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Energy dissipation
  • PIV
  • Surf zone
  • Turbulent dissipation
  • Wave breaking


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