Harbours are important infrastructures for an offshore production chain. These harbours are protected from the actions of sea by breakwaters to ensure safe loading, unloading of vessels and also to protect the infrastructure. One of the important hydrodynamic processes in these regions is the interaction of water waves with permeable breakwaters such as rubble mound breakwaters or berm breakwaters. It is important to study the wave-breakwater interactions in order to have an optimal design of these structures. In current literature, research regarding the design of these structures is majorly based on physical model tests. Empirical formulations are derived based on these test, which can have a relatively narrow range of applicability. In this study a new tool, a three-dimensional numerical model is introduced. Physical and numerical models have limitations that can restrict their independent use. A combined use of both can lead to different forms of improvements: being able to model problems that cannot be modelled by either physical or numerical modelling alone; increasing quality at the same cost or obtaining the same quality at reduced cost.
In this study, the open-source CFD model REEF3D is used to study the design of berm breakwaters. The model uses the Volume averaged Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (VRANS) equations to solve the porous flows. At first the VRANS approach in REEF3D is validated for flow through porous media. A dam break case is simulated for two different porous materials. Comparisons are made for the free surface both inside and outside the porous medium. The numerical model REEF3D is applied to show how to extend the database obtained with purely numerical results, simulating different structural alternatives for the berm in a berm breakwater. Different simulations are conducted with varying berm geometry. The influence of the berm geometry on the pore pressure and velocities are studied. The resulting optimal berm geometry is compared to the geometry according to empirical formulations.