Study of sand-grain movement in the swash zone

Published: 20 November 2017

Deltares will teaming up with the University of Twente and Delft University of Technology to improve our understanding of sand transport in the swash zone, and the predictive power of our models. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NWO has announced the approval of the Shaping the Beach study proposal. The aim of the study is to learn more about how sand grains move around in the dynamic area on the waterline where waves move up and down the beach: the swash zone.

‘At present, knowledge around the world is inadequate as a basis for sound predictions,’ says Jebbe van der Werf, a coastal morphologist with Deltares. ‘Good coastline management depends on those predictions: you want to know in detail how the beach is formed by natural processes and human interventions so that coastal managers can make things like sand nourishment more effective.’

Optimising the calculation of coastline development with Delft3D

The NWO-TTW study Shaping the Beach was developed with the aim of remedying this situation by combining large-scale wave flume testing and detailed, intra-wave numerical modelling (OpenFoam, XBeach). These new data and insights will be used to improve the capacity of Delft3D to calculate coastline development, allowing it to be used with more confidence in consultancy projects.

Five years of scientifically challenging and practically relevant research

The subsidy of 750,000 euros granted for the research project will be used to finance the appointment of 2 post-docs and 1 doctorate student at the University of Twente, Delft University of Technology and Deltares. ‘I am incredibly proud that our proposal has been approved and that we will be conducting scientifically challenging and practically relevant research for the next five years’, explains Jebbe enthusiastically. He will be coordinating the study with the University of Twente.