Directional Spectral Wave
Generator Facility (DSWG)
In FY00, the ERDC's Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL) acquired a new state-of-
the art multidirectional wavemaker. The Directional Spectral Wave Generator (DSWG)
was designed and built by MTS Systems Corporation, Minneapolis, MN. It provides
realistic three-dimensional waves in a laboratory environment for coastal projects that
support coastal research and development and site-specific project studies.
The facility consists of a 400-ft long by 182-ft wide concrete basin with 2.5-ft high walls.
The DSWG is 27.4-m long and
consists of 60 paddles, each 46-
cm wide and 1-m high. Each
paddle is driven at the joints by
an electrical motor in piston
mode, producing very smooth
and clean model waves. The
stroke of +36 cm generates
wave heights up to 30 cm in 60
cm water depths. Angles
between paddles can be
continuously varied using the
"snake principle" to produce
waves at angles approaching +85 deg. The DSWG is composed of 4 modules that enhance
portability within the J.V. Hall Bldg. Passive wave absorber frames around the basin
perimeter and active wave absorption on the DSWG reduce reflections from model
structures and basin walls. Two hydraulic gates facilitate model construction and access.
The DSWG has PC-based control, calibration, data acquisition, and analysis systems.
These systems provide (a) signal simulation, generation, conditioning, command and
feedback, (b) gage calibration, (c) active wave absorption, and (d) data collection and
analysis. Regular, irregular, cnoidal, unidirectional, directional, episodic, and tsunami
waves can be created from measured data or empirical formulas.
The ocean and coastal engineering community is recognizing the importance of wave
directionality in model studies. Over 40 hydraulic laboratories around the world now have
shallow and/or deepwater multi-directional wavemakers. Typical applications are wave
transformation, harbor and breakwater modeling, ship underkeel clearance, wave-current
interaction, underwater explosions, submarine and aircraft carrier stability, and tsunami
The DSWG has been widely used by the research and academic community including
Caltech, Cornell University, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division,
University of Delaware, Harvard, University of Maine, University of Miami, Scripps
Institute of Oceanography, University of Southern California, University of Washington,
and Washington State University.
Dr. Michael J. Briggs, CEERD-HN-H, 3909 Halls Ferry Road, Vicksburg, MS 39180-
Point of Contact
6199, e-mail: . Additional information can be
found at http://chl.erdc.usace.army.mil.
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center