The Spiral Wavemaker for Littoral Drift Studies

Robert A. Dalrymple, Robert G. Dean

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


A technique for simulating an infinitely long beach in the laboratory is introduced, with the objective of eliminating end effects usually present with short straight beach sections. The technique involves the spiral wavemaker generating waves in the center of a circular basin. The wavemaker, consisting of a vertical right-circular cylinder oscillating in a small circle about its axis, is described in detail. Theoretical developments, using small-amplitude wave assumptions, show that the surface wave crests generated by the wavemaker may be described, at a particular time, as an Archimedian-type of spiral, with the wavemaker at its origin. Also, the crests impinge on the circular beach everywhere at the same angle of incidence. Experiments with a prototype spiral wavemaker verify the theory, with close results for shallow water waves. Littoral drift applications of the wavemaker are given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th Coastal Engineering Conference 1972
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780872620490
StatePublished - 1973
Externally publishedYes
Event13th International Conference on Coastal Engineering 1972 - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: Jul 10 1972Jul 14 1972

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Coastal Engineering Conference
ISSN (Print)0161-3782


Conference13th International Conference on Coastal Engineering 1972


  • Littoral drift
  • Wave generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Oceanography


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