Role of the basin boundary conditions in gravity wave turbulence

Luc Deike, B. Miquel, P. Gutiérrez, T. Jamin, B. Semin, M. Berhanu, E. Falcon, F. Bonnefoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Gravity wave turbulence is investigated experimentally in a large wave basin in which irregular waves are generated unidirectionally. The roles of the basin boundary conditions (absorbing or reflecting) and of the forcing properties are investigated. To that purpose, an absorbing sloping beach opposite the wavemaker can be replaced by a reflecting vertical wall. We observe that the wave field properties depend strongly on these boundary conditions. A quasi-one-dimensional field of nonlinear waves propagates towards the beach, where they are damped whereas a more multidirectional wave field is observed with the wall. In both cases, the wave spectrum scales as a frequency power law with an exponent that increases continuously with the forcing amplitude up to a value close to . The physical mechanisms involved most likely differ with the boundary condition used, but cannot be easily discriminated with only temporal measurements. We also studied freely decaying gravity wave turbulence in the closed basin. No self-similar decay of the spectrum is observed, whereas its Fourier modes decay first as a time power law due to nonlinear mechanisms, and then exponentially due to linear viscous damping. We estimate the linear, nonlinear and dissipative time scales to test the time scale separation that highlights the important role of a large-scale Fourier mode. By estimation of the mean energy flux from the initial decay of wave energy, the Kolmogorov-Zakharov constant of the weak turbulence theory is evaluated and found to be compatible with a recently obtained theoretical value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-225
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Oct 25 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • intermittency
  • surface gravity waves
  • turbulent flows


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