To determine the impact of bow thrusters and ship propellers on water beds and embankments, Deltares is currently conducting scale model tests that will generate major savings on protection measures.
High flow velocities caused by ship thrusters can result in large pits in water beds that may, in extreme cases, even undermine embankments or other structures. To prevent this, scour protection consisting of materials such as rock deposits, block mats, concrete or asphalt is used near structures such as embankments and locks.
“We are conducting the study in collaboration with SBRCURnet, the Antwerp port authority, the Rotterdam port authority, Rijkswaterstaat and Holcim,” Deltares stated.
Determining the design conditions
The aim of the tests is to establish the design conditions for different configurations.
“This will allow us to enhance our understanding of related phenomena and also verify and, where possible, extend design guidelines. As a result, it will be possible to design less extreme scour protection measures, or to confine them to smaller areas. Ultimately, this can generate major savings,” they added.
Some of the tests focus on flow velocities produced by bow thrusters near an embankment and others look at the impact that ship propellers have on scour protection, whether this consists of loose rock or block mats.