As a result of ongoing coastal erosion and storms, coastal land-based infrastructure is in constant danger of both large-scale damage and flooding. Existing coastal defences, predominantly vertical and/or planar walls, although providing some protection, are frequently breached in severe conditions, which breach necessitates costly repair and/or rescue operations. Such walls are particularly ineffectual in deflecting the high-amplitude waves that occur during storms and/or high tides. The video below illustrates this problem, in which water can be seen breaching the wall and inundating the area behind it.
Using mathematical and computational optimisation methods, a new barrier shape has been designed that dramatically changes the behaviour of the wave impacting upon the wall: mathematics has played a key role in protecting the land-based infrastructure from the waves! The next video illustrates the results of this new design by demonstrating how the breaching has been minimised (by comparison with the first video).