Researchers create world’s largest artificial wave

Researchers based at Deltares, an independent research institute, have now observed the world’s largest artificially-generated wave at their newly created facility.

The Delta Flume, measuring at about 300m in length, 5m in width, and mostly 9.5m deep, was recently constructed to facilitate large-scale testing of coastal defences including dykes, breakwaters and other structures.

Researchers will use this new facility to support both national and international hydraulic engineering projects and research. So far, the largest wave generated has measured at over 5m high, and the flume can generate sufficiently large wave heights to test about 85% of the Dutch sea dikes at prototype scale under design conditions.

Increasingly, there is interest in assessing the robustness of coastal defences, particularly against the highest design standards (say, storm conditions that on average will occur once every 1 in 10,000 years). Large-scale physical models limit the influence of scaling effects that are apparent for materials such as clay or sand and flow characteristics.