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Wavemakers for coastal engineering

Our wavemakers for coastal engineering facilities can be used in 2D flumes or 3D basins.

Wavemakers are used to realistically simulate wave conditions in a physical model. Engineers and scientists investigating wave processes, or testing the design of ports and harbours or coastal protection schemes, must be able to simulate a wide range of wave conditions. We are proud to have supplied wave generation systems and instrumentation to more than 300 institutions worldwide.

We’ve been modelling coastal and marine structures for more than 70 years, and we use this expertise to design state-of-the-art physical wave generation systems for use in hydraulic, coastal and marine research facilities. We also supply the full suite of instrumentation and software needed to reliably collect and analyse results. Because our designs have been rigorously proven for our own research and consultancy projects, you can be confident that they satisfy the most stringent user requirements.

Innovation in wave generation

Our wavemakers can be designed for shallow water or deep water applications from the narrowest of flumes to the widest of 3D basins. Where very wide facilities are involved, our multi-element wavemakers are made up of individual modules. These modules can be linked to create long and short crested waves, together with the capability of oblique waves at specific locations in the facility using side wall reflection techniques.

All our wavemakers can generate random waves and come equipped with HR Wallingford’s Active Wave Absorption System for precise control of wave conditions within your 3D basin.

Custom-built wavemakers with support at every stage

As a hugely experienced user and supplier of wavemakers, instrumentation and software we know that nothing is ever standard. We’re constantly developing new products, upgrading and customising existing ones, and looking to develop new techniques and technologies to meet the constant demands of our own engineers and scientists and we recognise our customers face the same challenges.

Installation is quick and straightforward with HR Wallingford providing commissioning, training and on-going support.

Product features
  • Generates short and long-crested random waves at normal and oblique angles using HR Merlin signal generation software. 
  • Active Wave Absorption guarantees precise control of wave conditions.
  • Wet-backed piston paddle provides long stroke.
  • Stainless steel and GRP construction delivers a design life in excess of 20 years.
  • Digital AC servo motor provides precise control and rapid response.
  • Easy to maintain with all bearings and precision components above water.
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Electrically powered wavemakers

Flume wavemakers are electrically powered using the latest in servo-motor technology, and easy to maintain with all precision components above water; their stainless steel construction delivers a design life in excess of 20 years. 

Piston type wavemakers for shallow water up to 1.5m still water depth

For water depths up to 1.5 m the wavemaker is typically a piston type design where the paddle moves backwards and forwards horizontally. The advantage of this design is that the stroke is not generally limited, making the piston wavemaker ideal for producing:

  • solitary waves 
  • absorbing reflected waves
  • compensating for long period set down phenomena. 

Additional features of these systems are that they are:

  • easily installed
  • quick to relocate to different positions within the basin
  • can be extended as required. 

Depending upon the size of the flume or basin, the paddle width is determined to provide the most cost effective system for your budget.  

The flume wavemaker has the paddle mounted beneath the wavemaker and uses one or several electric drive actuators to meet the performance requirements. Our piston-type multi-element wavemakers are made up from a number of self-contained eight-paddle modules. these modular stainless steel support frames can easily be moved to anywhere in the basin to generate the waves you require. 

Paddle drive system

Paddle width varies from 0.5-0.75 m depending upon the client’s requirements. All paddles are of a wet-back design which means that there are no complicated seals between paddles or the basin walls and the floor. The paddles are mounted on linear slide assemblies that are supported from a common framework for the piston paddles. This leaves all motors, bearings and precision components well above the water level.