British-Dutch Study Makes Great Achievements on Coastal Development

British-Dutch Study Makes Great Achievements on Coastal Development

Technology Foundation STW and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council are jointly funding a research project at the Universities of Twente, Aberdeen and Liverpool, for a feasible sand transport model within the coastal development.

STW’s previous research in the British-Dutch project Santoss, has generated an enhanced sand transport model which yielded the influence of wave-induced currents. However, this model was not feasible enough to give truly reliable predictions.

The new research, with large-scale laboratory experiments in Aberdeen and Barcelona and modeling in Twente and Liverpool, should lead to an improved model that will be of great practical importance for research and coastal dredging. Ultimately, this type of experiments is not satisfying enough to make true estimations.

In reality, the rise of the waves outside the surf and then breaking into the surf itself, play an extremely important role. In model terms, this means that the data has to be used not only with regularly shaped and non-breaking waves, but also with irregular and breaking waves.

British-Dutch Study Makes Great Achievements on Coastal Development.

This is the core of the new research carried out by the Technology Foundation STW and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), recently honored with the “Sand transport under irregular breaking wave and conditions” project, which the researchers will be performing over the next four years.

The companies involved in this research are Deltares and Arcadis on the Dutch side and HR Wallingford Ltd and ENBE Ltd. on the British side.

STW Mission

The mission of the Technology Foundation STW is to realize knowledge transfer between science and technical users. To achieve this, STW brings project users and researchers together and promotes excellent technical-scientific research.

STW’s network has more than 1,000 companies, out of which about 40% accounts for technical SMEs.

Application of Model

In the world of coastal scientists, coastal managers and dredging, an improved sand transport model is of great value for the marine environment.

A more feasible model for the prediction of coastal erosion and accretion will be of great help in maintaining the Dutch coast. Dredgers will significantly benefit from a better understanding and prediction of the sand transport. The project also shows how STW promotes international public-private partnerships.

This is of strategic importance because the Netherlands, with a large coastal management experience, is not the only player in the world. Collaboration with researchers and companies worldwide will strengthen the position of the Netherlands.


The Water Engineering and Management group is focused on gaining knowledge of natural water systems in order to provide instruments for the water management issues analysis and to come up with solutions for these issues. In order to enhance sand transport model, a significant grant was allocated for a research related to the shallow seas and the coast management. When the waves break, large quantities of sand are raised from the sea bed and moved. The detailed features of this transport process are still unfamiliar therefore quantitative transport models for breaking waves are hard to rely on.


Dredging Today Staff, November 25, 2011; Image: utwente

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