Wave diffraction through offshore breakwaters

Robert A. Dalrymple, Paul A. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


The interaction of water waves with a long linear array of offshore breakwaters is examined to determine the reflection and transmission coefficients for these structures, providing data on the sheltering afforded by these structures. Two variational methods and an eigenfunction expansion method are used to determine the reflection coefficients for waves with wavelengths longer than the distance from gap to gap in the breakwater array. The eigenfunction method is also used for breakwaters, where the spacing between the gaps is longer than the water wavelength. For this case, analogous to scattering of light by a grating, numerous monochromatic directional wave trains can be generated in the region behind (and in front of) these breakwaters, which can lead to the generation of rip currents, beach cusps, and other periodic phenomena on beaches behind the structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-741
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering


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