72894 - Maritime Hydraulics M

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Civil Engineering (cod. 0930)

    Also valid for Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Environmental Engineering (cod. 8894)

Learning outcomes

Knowledge i) of hydro-morpho-dynamic processes (waves, currents, sediment transport), ii) of the interaction of waves, currents and sediments with coastal structures and iii) of the design criteria of coastal structures and ecologically friendly interventions for improving coastal safety. Assessment of the coastal dynamics at a given site and breakwater design based on hydraulic and geotechnical stability.

Course contents

Requirements/Prior knowledge

A prior knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of hydraulic processes is required to attend with profit this course. In addition, students should master the topics of structural design and geotechnics. Eventually they should be able to use simple calculation tools and the Office package, specifically MS Excel.

Fluent spoken and written Italian is a necessary pre-requisite: all lectures and tutorials, and all study material will be in Italian.

Course contents

Hydro-morpho-dyanmic processes in the coastal environment

Sea level

Tide, storm surge, subsidence and climate changes. Statistical methods for water level predictions, Measurement techniques.


Wave generation by wind action. Generalities on wind genesis, Beaufort scale, measurement techniques, geostrophic and real wind.

Linear theory. Dispersion relationship in shallow water and deep water. Wave grouping.

Wave transformation from off-shore to in-shore. Wave refraction, diffraction, reflection, breaking, shoaling.

Wave energy spectra, statistics of wave heights and periods, wave energy. Empirical formulae for the prediction of the wave spectrum, SMB methodology for fetch/duration limited waves.


Current generation: equation of mass conservation and momentum balance for oblique waves. Radiation stress, wave set-up, long-shore currents, rip currents.

Sediment transport

Closure depth and active beach profile. Quantification of the long-short transport. Beach equilibrium profile. Monitoring tecnologies.

Design and hydro-morphological effects of coastal interventions


Systems for coastal protection, selection of the structure lifetime and design sollicitations.

Wave-structure interaction

Wave-structure interaction for barriers parallel to the coast. Wave run-up, overtopping, transmission and reflection. Identification of the design parameters significant for wave attenuation and littoral protection.

Interaction with sediment transport

Morphological effects induced by barriers on the shoreline (salient, tombolos) and on the sea bottom (scour at the structure toe, far field erosion induced by currents).

Functionality of groynes: interaction with waves, currents and sediment transport.

Breakwater design

Design of breakwaters: hydraulic stability. Size of armour and toe protection. Criteria for sizing filters and geotechnical stability. Use of geotextile.

Generalities about construction phase.


Nourishment material and volume, sediment dispersion, lifetime, auxiliary protection structures, environmental screening and quarries.

Integrated eco-compatible planning of coastal protection

Socio-economic aspects in planning interventions and constructing defence structures. Ecological effects induced by hard defence and criteria for optimising breakwater design to minimize the environmental impact.


Zanuttigh, B. Idraulica Marittima. http://campus.cib.unibo.it/45104/

Coastal Engineering Manual http://users.coastal.ufl.edu/~mcdougal/CEM/CoastalEngineeringManual.htm

J.W. Kamphuis, Introduction to Coastal Engineering and Management, Adv. Series on Ocean Engineering – vol. 16, World Scientific

R.G. Dean & R.A. Dalrymple, Water wave mechanics for engineers and scientists, Adv. Series on Ocean Engineering – vol. 2, World Scientific

R.G. Dean & R.A. Dalrymple, Coastal Processes (with Engineering Applications), Cambridge University Press

Teaching methods

Lessons and excercises in the laboratory: reconstruction of the astronomical tide based on real data; statistics of extreme tides or waves; dispersion relationship for evaluating wave transformation from off-shore to in-shore; reconstruction of the typical annual wave climate; evaluation of the average yearly sediment transport based on the typical wave climate; desing of rock permeable structures for coastal defence.

Assessment methods

Achievements will be assessed by means of an oral exam, which consists of technical conversation with the lecturer. The student have to show the design of the maritime structures assigned during the lectures; such design has to be carried out by each student alone.

The design consists of a report and a drawing of the structure cross-section and plan view of the intervention.

The exam is aimed at assessing the acquired knowledge, the ability of synthesis and application of the key course contents.
To obtain a passing grade, students are required to demonstrate a good knowledge and understanding of the key concepts of the subject, regarding both the coastal processes and the design of coastal interventions.
Higher grades will be awarded to students who demonstrate the full knowledge of the subject, the capacity of a clear and critical presentation of the contents, appropriate use of the technical language and ability for application to sample cases.
A failing grade will be awarded if the student shows knowledge gaps in the key-concepts of the subject, inappropriate use of the technical language, and/or logic failures in the analysis of the subject.

Teaching tools

Zanuttigh, B. Idraulica Marittima. http://campus.cib.unibo.it/45104/

Office hours

See the website of Barbara Zanuttigh


Quality education Affordable and clean energy Sustainable cities Climate Action

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.