Tests for Tsunami Barrier

Published: 15 October 2014

The principle behind the Tsunami Barrier from DSM Dyneema works. This was seen during trials conducted by Deltares. To test the design, the barrier and a section of coast were built to scale. The tsunami was generated using a new approach, with an initial attack of rapidly-flowing water followed by a long period of high water.

Barrier unfolds automatically

Dyneema® is the strongest fibre in the world and, at the same time, it is very light and flexible and so it is used in many different ways. A few years ago, the idea of using it for flood defences emerged: a barrier unfolds automatically in response to a tsunami, protecting a city or a nuclear power station.

A high wall that stops waves of up to 20 metres

The barrier is installed and anchored in a trench along the coastline. When a tsunami arrives, the force of the water makes the barrier unfold and a float brings it upright. The float is anchored with Dyneema® cables. The result is a wall that can withstand up to 20 metres of water.

Barrier remains upright in all conditions

Deltares, DSM and Delft University of Technology made the calculations for the concept. Deltares then tested the unfolding mechanism in the Scheldt flume and found that the barrier does indeed unfold when a tsunami hits. The anchored float brings the barrier upright and keeps it there. The barrier remained upright in all conditions during the test, even when the tsunami exceeded the design height (over 30 metres) and flowed over it.

Business or government involvement needed for further development

DSM Dyneema now wants to develop the design further in practice. Some areas require further elaboration. For example, consideration needs to be given to the best way of designing the ends of the barrier and how to keep out floating debris. DSM Dyneema is looking for a business or government authority who wants to get involved.