The objective of this research project is to improve our understanding of, and predictive capabilities for, tsunami-driven debris impact forces on structures. Impact forces specified by current codes and standards are based on rigid body dynamics, while our proposition is that a model that fails to consider the flexibility of the debris results in design forces that are substantially too conservative. We will carry out experiments at NEES @ OSU and NEES @ Lehigh to improve our understanding of the important physical processes and to develop and validate two numerical models: a simplified model that can be used for design and reliability studies, and a fully 3-D fluid-structure interaction model based on computational fluid dynamics. This simulation-based model will be used to explore complex parameters not included in the simple model, such as 3-D geometry, impact angle, and 3-D fluid flow.

The experiments at the NEES @ Lehigh facility will quantify experimentally the nonlinear behavior of full scale shipping containers as they impact structural elements ‘in air’. These results will then be used to calibrate computational models that will be used to examine the interaction effects between debris and structural components of various stiffness. The experimental and model results will be used to design a simpler, 1:5 scale model that mimics container behavior for a second series of tests at the NEES @ OSU Tsunami Research Facility. These tests will provide actual data from water-driven debris, which will be used to further validate numerical models developed at UH. The OSU tests will also shed light on the amplification that may result from the surrounding fluid mass. Similar tests will be conducted for ‘woody’ debris. Both NEES facilities are indispensable for the conduct of this research.


Acknowledgment and Disclaimer

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1041666. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.