Development of a one-way coupled diffraction/trapped air model for predicting wave loading on bridges under water wave attack

Document Type


Publication Date



In recent years, a number of researchers have applied various computational methods to study the wave and tsunami forcing on bridge superstructure problems. Usually, these computational analyses have relied upon application of computational fluid dynamic (CFD) codes. While CFD models provide accurate results, their disadvantage is that they tend to be computationally expensive. Thus, it may be difficult to apply these techniques during risk assessment analyses. During this study, an alternative computational method was explored in which a previously-developed diffraction model was combined with a previously-developed trapped air model under worst-case wave loading conditions (i.e., when the water surface was at the same elevation as the bottom bridge chord elevation). The governing equations were solved using a finite difference algorithm for the case where the bridge was attacked by a single wave in two dimensions. Resultant water forces were computed using results from the diffraction/trapped air computations, and water force values were compared with data from three datasets. In general, excellent agreement between the diffraction/trapped air model and data was observed. The computational time associated with the model was only approximately one hour per bridge configuration, which would appear to be an improvement when compared with other computational techniques.

Publication Title

Journal of Fluids and Structures



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)