HR Wallingford: Creating Tsunami Waves in the Laboratory

Hydraulic engineering specialists, HR Wallingford, unveiled their latest generation tsunami simulator, the most realistic yet, at their facilities at Howbery Park, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, today.

The Tsunami Simulator, which is installed in HR Wallingford’s Fast Flow Facility, is being part-funded by a €1.9 million European Research Council Starting Grant ‘URBAN WAVES’.

A team from UCL (University College London) and HR Wallingford will use the facility to test coastal defenses and urban environments for their tsunami resilience, which will ultimately lead to improved engineering guidance to aid disaster management worldwide.

This simulator, the largest specialist tsunami device in Europe, has been installed in a 70 m long and 4 m wide channel, and uses 70,000 liters of water to simulate a tsunami.

At the same scale of 1:50, it improves the generation of both crest-led and trough-led tsunamis, and will enable – for the first time – the simulation of a tsunami impact on urban areas, through modeling in detail the effects that tsunamis have on coast defenses, and how water is channeled around clusters of buildings.

UCL EPICentre will be at HR Wallingford undertaking the experimental phase of the ‘URBAN WAVES’ project until October 2016, after which the Tsunami Simulator might be made available for use by other external researchers and organisations.

The results of the studies will appear in a series of conference and scientific journal papers over the next few years, with some due to be published later this year.

The final report will be available in early 2019.

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