SPH simulations of real sea waves impacting a large-scale structure

Corrado Altomare, Angelantonio Tafuni, José M. Domínguez, Alejandro J.C. Crespo, Xavi Gironella, Joaquim Sospedra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The Pont del Petroli is a dismissed pier in the area of Badalona, Spain, with high historical and social value. This structure was heavily damaged in January 2020 during the storm Gloria that hit southeastern Spain with remarkable strength. The reconstruction of the pier requires the assessment and characterization of the wave loading that determined the structural failure. Therefore, a state-of-the-art Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) code was employed herein as an aid for a planned experimental campaign that will be carried out at the Maritime Engineering Laboratory of Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-BarcelonaTech (LIM/UPC). The numerical model is based on Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) and has been employed to simulate conditions very similar to those that manifested during the storm Gloria. The high computational cost for a full 3-D simulation has been alleviated by means of inlet boundary conditions, allowing wave generation very close to the structure. Numerical results reveal forces higher than the design loads of the pier, including both self-weight and accidental loads. This demonstrates that the main failure mechanism that led to severe structural damage of the pier during the storm is related to the exceeded lateral soil resistance. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this research represents the first known application of SPH open boundary conditions to model a real-world engineering case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number826
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering


  • Fluid–structure interaction
  • Pont del Petroli
  • SPH
  • Smoothed particle hydrodynamics
  • Storm Gloria
  • Waves


Dive into the research topics of 'SPH simulations of real sea waves impacting a large-scale structure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this