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The Growth of Water Waves Due to the Action of the Wind


Hibbs, Albert Roach (1955) The Growth of Water Waves Due to the Action of the Wind. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/VT31-VT32.


This study consists of an attempt to understand the mechanism whereby the wind causes the growth of waves in water. A simple geometrical model is suggested to describe, in part, the turbulent flow of air over a sinusoidal surface. The model permits the calculation of the magnitude of that component of air pressure which is responsible for wave growth. Interpreting the model as a rough picture of a separation phenomenon permits the calculation of the magnitude of that component of surface shear which also contributes to wave growth. Pressures computed from the model coincide reasonably well with some measured in wind tunnel tests using solid test-models. As a preliminary to the application of the model to water surfaces, a general wave-growth equation is developed under the condition that winds extend over only a finite region of space. Use of this growth equation, together with a condition limiting the wave-height (obtained from the theory of a single-frequency wave system), leads to an encouraging comparison between the predictions of the model and observations on the growth of water waves over a wide range of experimental conditions. Effects limiting wave growth in multiple-frequency systems are considered briefly, and a result is obtained which describes one such effect.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Physics and Mathematics)
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Minor Option:Mathematics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Feynman, Richard Phillips
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 January 1955
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-12152003-113247
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:5005
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:17 Dec 2003
Last Modified:29 Jun 2023 00:13

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PDF (Hibbs_ar_1955.pdf) - Final Version
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