The Efficient Application of an Impulse Source Wavemaker to CFD Simulations

Pal Schmitt, Christian Windt, Josh Davidson, John V V. Ringwood, Trevor Whittaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
199 Downloads (Pure)


Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations, based on Reynolds-Averaged
Navier–Stokes (RANS) models, are a useful tool for a wide range of coastal and offshore applications, providing a high fidelity representation of the underlying hydrodynamic processes. Generating input waves in the CFD simulation is performed by a Numerical Wavemaker (NWM), with a variety of different NWM methods existing for this task. While NWMs, based on impulse source methods, have been widely applied for wave generation in depth averaged, shallow water models, they have not seen the same level of adoption in the more general RANS-based CFD simulations, due to difficulties in relating the required impulse source function to the resulting free surface elevation for non-shallow water cases. This paper presents an implementation of an impulse source wavemaker, which is able to self-calibrate the impulse source function to produce a desired wave series in deep or shallow water at a specific point in time and space. Example applications are presented, for a Numerical Wave Tank (NWT), based on the open-source CFD software OpenFOAM, for wave packets in deep and shallow water, highlighting the correct calibration of phase and amplitude. Furthermore, the suitability for cases requiring very low reflection from NWT boundaries is demonstrated. Possible issues in the use of the method are discussed, and guidance for accurate application is given.

Original languageEnglish
Article number71
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2019


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