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# Free-Surface Waves

## 13.012 Fall 2004

Prof. A. Techet
Dept. Ocean Engineering

30 September 2004

## The highest waves generally occur in the Southern

Ocean, where waves over six meters in height
(shown as red in images) are found. The strongest
winds are also generally found in this region. The
lowest waves (shown as purple in images) are found
primarily in the tropical and subtropical oceans
where the wind speed is also the lowest.

## In general, there is a high degree of

correlation between wind speed and
wave height.

## The highest winds generally occur in the Southern Ocean,

where winds over 15 meters per second (represented by
red in images) are found. The strongest waves are also
generally found in this region. The lowest winds
(indicated by the purple in the images) are found
primarily in the tropical and subtropical oceans where the
wave height is also the lowest.

Sea State Codes
Sea State
Code
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

## Significant Wave Height

Range
Mean
0 (meters) 0 (meters)
0.05
0-0.1
0.3
0.1-0.5
0.5-1.25
0.875
1.25-2.5
1.875
2.5-4.0
3.25
5.0
4.0-6.0
7.5
6.0-9.0
11.5
9.0-14.0
> 14.0
> 14.0

Description
Calm (glassy)
Calm (rippled)
Smooth (mini-waves)
Slight
Moderate
Rough
Very Rough
High
Very High
Huge

## General Wave Problem

Unknowns
Velocity Field
JK
V ( x, y , z , t ) = ( x , y , z , t )

## Free Surface Elevation

z ( x, y , t ) = ( x, y , t )

Pressure Field
p( x, y, z , t ) = pdynamic + phydrostatic

## Governing Equations & Conditions

Continuity (Conservation of Mass):
2 = 0 for z <

p pa
1
2
+ +
+ gz = 0 for z <
t 2

## No disturbance exists far away:

, 0 and p = pa gz
t

Boundary Conditions
In order to solve the boundary value problem for
free surface waves we need to understand the
boundary conditions on the free surface, any
bodies under the waves, and on the sea floor:
Pressure is constant across the interface
Once a particle on the free surface, it remains there
always.
No flow through an impervious boundary or body.

## Pressure Across the FS Interface

p = patm on z =
1 2

p + + V + gz = c(t )
t 2

Bernoullis Eqn.
at the free surface

1 2

p = + V + gz + c(t ) = patm
t 2

## Since c(t) is arbitrary we can choose a suitable constant that

fits our needs:
c(t ) = patm
Thus our pressure boundary condition on z = becomes:

1 2
+ V + g} = 0
t 2

## Once a Particle on the FS

The normal velocity of a particle on the FS follows the normal
velocity of the surface itself:

z p = (xp , t)

## Look at small motion z p :

z p + z p = (xp + xp , t + t) = (xp , t) +

xp + t
x
t

zp =
u t +
t
t
t

w = u

xp = u t
zp = w t

+
on z =
x t

## No flow through an impervious boundary

Velocity of the fluid normal to the body must be equal to
the body velocity in that direction:
On the Body: B ( x, y, z, t ) = 0
JG
G
JG G
V n = n =
= U ( x, t ) n ( x, t ) = U n on B = 0
n
Alternately a particle P on B remains on B always; i.e. B is a material surface.
For example: if P is on B at some time t = to such that B(x,to) = 0 and we were to
follow P then B will be always zero:

G
G
If B( x, to ) = 0, then B( x, t ) = 0 for all t,

DB B

=
+ ( ) B = 0 on B = 0
Dt
t
Take for example a flat bottom at z = H then /z = 0

## Linear Plane Progressive Waves

Linear free-surface gravity waves can be characterized by
their amplitude, a, wavelength, = 2/k, and frequency, .

( x, t ) = a cos(kx t )

Linear Waves
h / < 1/ 7

a is wave amplitude, h = 2a
is wavelength, = 2/k where k is wave number
Waves will start to be non-linear (and then break)
when h/ > 1/7

## Linearization of Equations &

Boundary Conditions
Non-dimensional variables :

t =t
= a
u = a u

= a w= a w x = x

dt =1/ dt d = a d dx = dx

FS Boundary Conditions
1. Dynamic FS BC:
(Pressure at the FS)

Compare

1 2
{ + V + g} = 0
t 2

and V 2 ~
t
x
2
x

( )

a (
=
a 2
2

x

t

a (

x

t

## If h/ << 1/ 7 then a/ << 1/14 since h = 2a.

2

( ) <<
x
t

1 2

{ + V + g} = 0 becomes
+ g = 0
t
t 2

on z =

FS Boundary Conditions
2. Kinematic FS BC:
(Motion at the Surface)

w=u
+
x t

Non-dimensionalize:
*
*
a

a w* = a u *
+ a
*
x
t *

If h/ << 1/ 7
Therefore:

w=u

u
<<
and u
<< w
x
t
x

becomes
+
x t

=
z t

on z =

Since wave elevation, , is proportional to wave amplitude, a, and a is small
compared to the wavelength, , we can simplify our boundary conditions one
step further to show that they can be taken at z = 0 versus z = .
First take the Taylors series expansion of (x, z=, t) about z=0:

( x, z = , t ) = ( x, 0, t ) + + ...
z
It can be shown that the second order term and all subsequent HOTs are
very small and can be neglected. Thus we can substitute (x, z=0, t) for
(x, z=, t) everywhere:
1

1 2

=
=
+ g = 0

t
g
t
t
g t 2

=
z t

1 2
+
= 0 on z = 0
2
z g t

Linear Wave
Boundary Value Problem
2
2

2
= 2 + 2 = 0 for z < 0
x
z

## 1. Sea Floor Boundary Condition (flat bottom)

= 0 on z = H
z
2. Dynamic FSBC (Pressure at the FS)

1
on z = 0

t
g

2
+g
= 0 on z = 0
2
t
z

## Solution to Laplaces Equation

By Separation of Variables we can get a solution for linear FS waves:

( x, t ) = a cos(kx t + )
a
( x, z, t ) =
f ( z ) sin(kx t + )
k

u ( x, z, t ) = a f ( z ) cos(kx t + )
w( x, z, t ) = a f1 ( z ) sin(kx t + )

## 2 = gk tanh(kH ) dispersion relation

Where:

f ( z) =

cosh[k ( z + H )]
sinh(kH )

f1 ( z ) =

sinh[k ( z + H )]
sinh(kH )

Dispersion Relationship
The dispersion relationship uniquely relates the wave frequency
and wave number given the depth of the water.

2 = gk tanh(kH )
The solution f must satisfy all boundary conditions.
Plugging f into the KBC yields the dispersion relationship
Approximations
As kH 0 tanh(kH ) kH
2 gk 2 H (shallow)

As kH tanh(kH ) 1
2 gk

(deep)

1
p=
V 2 N
gz
t 

2
N
hydrostatic
fluctuation

2nd Order
term

pressure

DynamicPressure

## Since we are dealing with a linearized problem we can neglect the

2nd order term. Thus dynamic pressure is simply:

pd ( x, z, t ) =

a 2
2
=
f ( z ) ( x, t )
f ( z ) cos(t kx ) =
k
k
cosh k ( z + H )
= g ( x, t )
cosh ( kH )

## Motion of a Fluid Particle

Particle Orbits
Under the waves particles follow distinct orbits depending on whether the
water is shallow, intermediate or deep. Water is considered deep when
water depth is greater than one-half the wavelength of the wave.

## Particle Orbits in Deep Water

H

( kH  1)

2 = gk dispersion relationship
f ( z ) f1 ( z ) e kz

p + p = ( a e
2

kz

## Circular orbits with

exponentially
Particle motion extinct at z -/2

## at the free surface

The intersection between the circle on which p
and p lie and the elevation profile (x,t) define
the location of the particle.

velocity

Phase Velocity
Vp =

g
k

tanh kH

speed of the

## Phase Velocity= wave crest

Motion of crest
in space and time

Group Velocity
Simple Harmonic Wave: (x,t) = a cos(t-kx)
( x, t ) = lim

k , 0

= lim

(t, x = 0)

k , 0

a
2

cos ([ ]t [k k ]x ) + a2 cos ([ + ]t [k + k ]x )}

## {a cos(t kx) cos( t k x)}

Group Velocity
d
Vg =
=
k dk

= gk tanh(kH )
2

d
d
2 } = {kg tanh(kH )}
{
dk
dk

speed of the
wave energy

1
kH
Cg = C p 1 +

2 sinh kH cosh kH

d
kgH
= g tanh(kH ) +
dk
cosh 2 (kH )

d 1 g
kH
tanh(kH ) 1 +
=

dk 2 

sinh(
kH
)
cosh(
kH
)

=V
k
p

Shallow water H 0
= gH k

Cg = C p

Deep water H
2 = kg

Cg = 12 C p