Investigations of Reduction Effect of Vertical Wall on Dam-Break-Simulated Tsunami Surge Exerted on Wharf Piles

Cheng Chen, Bruce W. Melville, N. A.K. Nandasena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


For a preliminary investigation of the impact of a tsunami surge on wharf piles, a tsunami flume was built in a laboratory, and a dam break flow was generated by a gate-reservoir system to simulate a tsunami surge. In addition, a vertical wall was installed in front of the wharf model so that its effect in reducing tsunami load could be studied. Five different tsunami surge strengths were generated by this gate-reservoir system. Wave transducers were used in the test flume to capture surge heights and velocities, and hence the surge front profiles, for different surge strengths. High-speed video cameras (210 frames per second) were used to record the flow motion of the tsunami surge, and pressure sensors (1000Hz in frequency) were used to capture the time histories of the tsunami pressure on the wharf piles. Four stages of tsunami surge motions were observed by this high-speed camera. Accordingly, the pressure time history can be divided into three phases. In our experimental range, pressures were influenced by surge height and wall height, but not by the wall position. Based on the dimensionless experimental data (pile heights, surge heights, vertical wall heights, and surge pressures), equations for estimating tsunami loads on wharf pile are proposed, expressing surge front (peak impact) pressure and quasi-steady pressure as functions of surge height, wall height, and pile height.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1840006
JournalJournal of Earthquake and Tsunami
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Tsunami surge
  • pressure
  • reduction
  • vertical wall
  • wharf piles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geophysics


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