Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Ocean Engineering


Ocean Engineering

First Advisor

Annette Grilli


This study aims at assessing the performance of an artificial reef to protect sandy shorelines from erosion. The approach includes a literature review in form of a summary of the relevant coastal and design parameters and a numerical case study using the numerical morpho-dynamic model XBeach along the southern Rhode Island shoreline to assess the impact of an artificial reef.

The literature review focus on artificial reefs or submerged breakwaters designs and summarizes the results of past laboratory and field works. It aims at assessing (1) the critical processes controlling the shoreline morphological changes associated to the reef and (2) summarizing the parameters used to optimize the reef design. It confirms that an optimal design is site specific, with shape and location depending on local wave climate and geo-morpho-dynamic processes. Based on theory, experiments, past case studies, as well as local test site characteristics, we have sited a test design offshore of Green Hill (Rhode Island). A sensitivity study to shape and location is performed using XBeach.



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