Abstract

Coastal erosion and its management cause significant economic, social, and environmental impacts on Australia. Current methods of controlling coastal erosion are expensive and are frequently damaged during severe weather events. However, recent studies have identified the potential for Wave Energy Converters (WECs) to provide a solution to this problem. WECs can extract energy from ocean waves and attenuate the wave field propagating towards the shore. The aim of this project is to determine whether arrays of WECs can not only reduce the magnitude of the propagated wave but also change its direction, thereby creating more favourable nearshore conditions.

The study is conducted using small-scale experiments in a wave flume using an array of ten oscillating water columns (OWC). The OWCs are placed perpendicular to the incoming wave and equally spaced across the width of the wave flume. The OWCs are constructed using L-shaped pipes of 60-mm diameter, and the natural frequency of each OWC is tuned using different horizontal pipe extensions, which ultimately change the mass of water within the OWC. The damping is tuned using end-caps with different orifice diameters. Each OWC is equipped with a pressure sensor to measure the differential air pressure inside the OWC air chamber. The downstream wave field is characterised using a row of 6 resistive wave gauges located at a distance of 2 m from the wave array. The study is conducted using regular waves with a wave frequency of 1 Hz. The preliminary results demonstrate that the array of OWCs can change the direction of the incoming wave by several degrees.

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