Past projects

Modeling wave impact on a vertical wall

logo_TransportsQcFunding: Ministère des Transports du Québec

Many areas in Quebec are affected by coastal erosion. Although a natural phenomenon, erosion is currently on the rise because of climate change. The impacts of climate change include rising sea levels, shifting wave and ice patterns, and changes in the occurrence of extreme meteorological events. These impacts can cause considerable damage to roads and other coastal infrastructure. For example, waves can destabilize protective walls and cause partial or total collapse. .


Project objectives
The research project seeked a better understanding of the design of coastal protection structures and to ensure the sustainability of the walls protecting coastal roads in the context of climate change. More specifically, the objectives are to:

  • Determine the impact of breaking waves on a vertical wall, taking into account the overpressure caused by air trapped by wave surges of different wave types, heights, and periods.
  • Determine the crossing coefficient of water projected by waves of different types.

Project description
The project consisted of scientific studies and simulations using small-scale physical models to reproduce natural conditions. The Chair’s team used the wave flume and other tools to simulate the impacts of rising sea levels and increased wave height on vertical walls. This work allowed researchers to analyze different nearshore hydrodynamic conditions, which in turn will allow them to evaluate the forces applied to walls, the flows required for wave crossing, and the consequences of these phenomena on coastal infrastructure. The knowledge gained will help us adapt the design of protective walls for the new conditions created by climate change.

Wave flume modeling of a beach profile for beach nourishment

logo_SecPubQcFunding: Ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec

A lot of the infrastructure and buildings located along the St. Lawrence shorelines are affected by erosion and coastal flooding. Despite the shoreline protection measures in place, some structures are still affected when storm surges and large waves lead to very high water levels. For example, a wall built above a beach was affected by scouring during a recent storm, and beach nourishment was the solution selected to remediate the problem. This project will serve as a real-world case study for modeling experiments in the wave flume.


Project objectives
The objectives of this project were to:

  • Determine the changes in a beach’s profile of equilibrium when subjected to storm waves
  • Study the morphodynamics of the sediments replaced to test the stability of the proposed beach profile of equilibrium
  • Examine the cross-shore sediment transport at intermediate depths

Project description
Scientific studies and simulations using reduced-scale physical models were carried out in the wave flume to determine the changes in the slope of a beach composed of a mixture of sand and gravel when subjected to storm surges. The flume experiments were carried out long enough for researchers to estimate the time required for waves to sort the sediment and form a protective berm at the base of the retaining wall. Small scale modeling of a beach enableb coastal engineers to improve the beach replenishment methods used in Quebec and develop more sustainable protection measures for coastal communities.