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Wave uplift pressures on horizontal platforms


French, Jonathan Akin (1970) Wave uplift pressures on horizontal platforms. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/AKKA-X706.


The major objective of the study has been to investigate in detail the rapidly-varying peak uplift pressure and the slowly-varying positive and negative uplift pressures that are known to be exerted by waves against the underside of a horizontal pier or platform located above the still water level, but not higher than the crests of the incident waves.

In a "two-dimensional" laboratory study conducted in a 100-ft long by 15-in.-wide by 2-ft-deep wave tank with a horizontal smooth bottom, individually generated solitary waves struck a rigid, fixed, horizontal platform extending the width of the tank. Pressure transducers were mounted flush with the smooth soffit, or underside, of the platform. The location of the transducers could be varied.

The problem of a d equate dynamic and spatial response of the transducers was investigated in detail. It was found that unless the radius of the sensitive area of a pressure transducer is smaller than about one-third of the characteristic width of the pressure distribution, the peak pressure and the rise-time will not be recorded accurately. A procedure was devised to correct peak pressures and rise-times for this transducer defect.

The hydrodynamics of the flow beneath the platform are described qualitatively by a si1nple analysis, which relates peak pressure and positive slowly-varying pressure to the celerity of the wave front propagating beneath the platform, and relates negative slowly-varying pressure to the process by which fluid recedes from the platform after the wave has passed. As the wave front propagates beneath the platform, its celerity increases to a maximum, then decreases. The peak pressure similarly increases with distance from the seaward edge of the platform, then decreases.

Measured peak pressure head, always found to be less than five times the incident wave height above still water level, is an order of magnitude less than reported shock pressures due to waves breaking against vertical walls; the product of peak pressure and rise-time, considered as peak impulse, is of the order of 20% of reported shock impulse due to waves breaking against vertical walls. The maximum measured slowly-varying uplift pressure head is approximately equal to the incident wave height less the soffit clearance above still water level. The normalized magnitude and duration of negative pressure appears to depend principally on the ratio of soffit clearance to still water depth and on the ratio of platform length to still water depth.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Civil Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Civil Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Raichlen, Fredric (advisor)
  • Vanoni, Vito A. (co-advisor)
  • Brooks, Norman H. (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:26 June 1969
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Title Insurance and Trust CompanyUNSPECIFIED
Sloan Fund for Basic ResearchUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:08052015-104412384
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9078
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:05 Aug 2015 19:59
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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