Journal of Fluid Mechanics


A particle image velocimetry investigation on laboratory surf-zone breaking waves over a sloping beach


a1 Ecole Centrale de Marseille, Technopôle Château-Gombert, 13451 Marseille, France

a2 IRPHE, CNRS, Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille, France;


Particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements were performed in a wave tank under water waves propagating and breaking on a 1/15 sloping beach. The wave transformation occurred in the surf zone over a large domain covering several wavelengths from incipient breaking to swash zone beyond the shoreline. PIV spatial interrogation windows must be small enough to obtain accurate velocities, and one window covers only a small part of the domain. To overcome this problem and to measure the instantaneous velocity field over the whole surf zone area, we have split the full field into 14 overlapping smaller windows of the same size. Local measurements were synchronized with each other using pulsed TTL triggers and wave gauge data. The full velocity field was then reconstructed at every time step by gathering the 14 PIV fields. We then measured the complete space–time evolution of the velocity field over the whole surf zone. We determined also the ensemble-period-average and phase-average components of the flow with their associated fluctuating parts. We used the PIV images and velocity measurements to estimate the void fraction in each point of the surf zone. Special attention was given to the calculation of the spatial derivatives in order to obtain relevant information on vorticity and on the physical terms that appear in the fluctuating kinetic energy transport equation.

(Received August 24 2005)

(Revised June 05 2007)