Obtaining Reflection Coefficients from a Single Point Velocity Measurement

Rachael McKee, Björn Elsäßer, Pál Schmitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
189 Downloads (Pure)


The quantification of the reflection of water waves is of paramount importance in coastal and marine engineering. Reflected waves are produced as a result of an incident wave meeting a reflective boundary e.g., in a wave basin. While reflection can be seen as an undesirable disturbance, for example in experimental tests performed in confined tanks, it can also have a useful purpose such as being directed towards wave energy converters (WECs). Whether useful or not, reflection needs to be accurately quantified. For cases effected by directional spreading such as WECs, the wave height of a reflected wave will be spatially variable. The majority of quantification methods are based on frequency domain analysis of surface elevation data at more than one discrete location over approximately one wavelength. Thus, a method which requires a single point measurement is desirable. This paper presents a novel method derived from Linear Wave theory to quantify reflection coefficients using orbital velocity measurements at one discrete location. An additional advantage of this method is it only requires data over a single wave cycle and thus will be particularly suitable for numerical simulations. In the present form the method is only applicable to monochromatic waves. The theoretical background of the method is explained in detail. An application is demonstrated through a comparison to reflections quantified using surface elevation measurements in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) numerical simulations. It is found that the results of the new proposed method compare to surface elevation methods within the levels of experimental accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2018


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