Numerical Modelling of Beach Profile Evolution with and without an Artificial Reef

Cuiping Kuang, Jiadong Fan, Xuejian Han, Hongyi Li, Rufu Qin, Qingping Zou

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With the recent development from grey infrastructures to green infrastructures, artificial reefs become more popular in coastal protection projects. To investigate the responses of beach profile evolution to the presence of an artificial reef, a non-hydrostatic model is established. Both hydrodynamic and morphodynamic evolution for the beach with and without an artificial reef are compared under regular wave conditions. In addition, the protected beach profile evolution by an artificial reef is discussed under irregular wave conditions. Three key parameters in non-hydrostatic simulation are considered for sensitivity analysis, including maximum wave steepness criterium (maxbrsteep), water depth factor (depthscale), and equilibrium sediment concentration factor (sedcal). The numerical results under regular wave conditions indicate that the artificial reef enhances wave attenuation by inducing wave breaking. In addition, the artificial reef reduces local flow velocity and offshore sediment transport by 51%, therefore decrease the total erosion by 53%. Over the artificial reef, wave skewness and asymmetry go through a drastic change. Under irregular wave conditions, short waves contribute to the wave energy mainly and reflection-induced standing wave effects decline considerably. It demonstrates that the artificial reef can protect the beach from regular and irregular waves by reducing erosion and offshore transport of suspended sediments. Moreover, in the wave breaking area, the increase of maximum wave steepness criterium may give arise to the wave height. The morphological evolution is more sensitive to water depth factor than equilibrium sediment concentration factor, because the former is a controlling factor for beach profile characteristics while the latter forms the sandbar varying irregularly in shape.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3832
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2023


  • Xbeach
  • artificial reef
  • beach profile
  • coastal protection
  • morphological evolution
  • non-hydrostatic model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Biochemistry


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