Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Two-dimensional periodic waves in shallow water. Part 2. Asymmetric waves

Joe  Hammack a1, Daryl  Mccallister a2, Norman  Scheffner a3 and Harvey  Segur a2
a1 Departments of Geosciences and Mathematics, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
a2 Program in Applied Mathematics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0526, USA
a3 US Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Coastal Engineering Research Center, Vicksburg, MS 39180, USA

Article author query
hammack j   [Google Scholar] 
mccallister d   [Google Scholar] 
scheffner n   [Google Scholar] 
segur h   [Google Scholar] 


We demonstrate experimentally the existence of a family of gravity-induced finiteamplitude water waves that propagate practically without change of form in shallow water of uniform depth. The surface patterns of these waves are genuinely two-dimensional, and periodic. The basic template of a wave is hexagonal, but it need not be symmetric about the direction of propagation, as required in our previous studies (e.g. Hammack et al. 1989). Like the symmetric waves in earlier studies, the asymmetric waves studied here are easy to generate, they seem to be stable to perturbations, and their amplitudes need not be small. The Kadomtsev–Petviashvili (KP) equation is known to describe approximately the evolution of waves in shallow water, and an eight-parameter family of exact solutions of this equation ought to describe almost all spatially periodic waves of permanent form. We present an algorithm to obtain the eight parameters from wave-gauge measurements. The resulting KP solutions are observed to describe the measured waves with reasonable accuracy, even outside the putative range of validity of the KP model.

(Published Online April 26 2006)
(Received October 8 1993)
(Revised September 13 1994)