American Society of Civil Engineers

Propagation of Long Water Waves through Branching Channels

by Aimin Shi, (Researcher, Envir. Fluid Dynamics Res., Monroe Township, NJ 08831. E-mail:, Michelle H. Teng, M.ASCE, (Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Civ. and Envir. Engrg., Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822. E-mail:, and Mei Sou, (Grad. Student, School of Civ. and Envir. Engrg., Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853. E-mail:

Journal of Engineering Mechanics, Vol. 131, No. 8, August 2005, pp. 859-871, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: This paper investigates the fundamental behavior of long water waves propagating through branching channels of uniform depth and width. Numerical simulations based on the Boussinesq long wave model were carried out to investigate the effects of channel width b, effective wavelength λe, wave amplitude α, and angle θbetween channel branches on wave transmission and reflection. Our results showed that the transmission and reflection of long waves through branching channels are dominantly governed by a single dimensionless parameter be, whereas other parameters such as the angle between channel branches are less important. Detailed quantitative results for predicting long wave transmission and reflection in different branching channels based on the similarity parameter be were determined. From these results, we have discovered some very interesting and distinct long wave behaviors in narrow and wide branching channels. To verify the numerical results, experiments were conducted in a right-angled branching channel, and the experimental results showed good agreement with the numerical predictions.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Long waves
Open channels
Boussinesq equations
Numerical analysis