The main marine structures : the breakwater, ripraps and basin, require very specific studies and modelling using significant technical resources.
Designing a new port requires
a very high level of engineering in many areas.
Many numerical modelling operations are first carried out to define as precisely as possible the configuration of the breakwater and ripraps in relation with the hydro-sedimentary motion, the propagation of swell and currents. The final design must then meet physical testing in wave tank.
The seafloor is replicated on the needed scale in a huge basin in which scale models of breakwater sections are built step by step to test the resistance of the structure to the power of a rough ocean. From the end of the basin, a series of waves are spread to scale 1/55 to simulate storm events. Damage to the model is recorded and the design modified if necessary.
The basin is also designed according to digital models of wave, current and agitation in order to facilitate the traffic of vessels within the port. The proper design of the basin is checked at last by a series of tests carried out on marine navigation simulators. Berthing and unberthing are performed by ship masters usually manoeuvring in the port on a simulator recreating as closely as possible the new port in 3D. Heavy wind under extreme conditions is tested to set safety limits and improve the detailed design.
Construction of the breakwater bullnose physical model © DHI 2017
Physical wave simulation in 3 dimensions © DHI 2017