Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Ocean Engineering


Ocean Engineering

First Advisor

Annette Grilli


The Ninigret-Trustom-Pond beach barrier system around Charlestown, Rhode Island is an area at risk of high-energy wave impact due to storm events. Artificial reefs are a possible measure to reduce coastal erosion and flooding at shorelines by attenuating waves offshore. An impermeable segmented artificial reef design for the study site proposed by Schuh et al. (2023) is comprehensively validated by employing the phase-averaged process-based model XBeach for coupled wave, flow, and morphodynamic processes in combination with the Boussinesq-type phase-resolving hydrodynamic model FUNWAVE.

Subaerial erosion reduction is validated using calibrated XBeach simulations with design wave and surge input based on Hurricane Sandy (2012). An extensive calibration of the model tuning parameters γua and β is conducted by analyzing simulation output errors and their spatial distribution compared to post-Sandy measurements. FUNWAVE simulations with input from the peak of the design storm are performed to study currents at and near the shoreline in order to validate the attenuation of hydrodynamic impact. Model cases based on average wave and tidal conditions are investigated to rule out the creation of erosive flow patterns by the artificial reef in a normal sea state. The results attained from both models support the efficacy of the proposed design.

Available for download on Friday, September 05, 2025