Università degli Studi di Napoli "Parthenope"

Teaching schedule

Academic year: 
Belonging course: 
Course of Master's Degree Programme on CIVIL ENGINEERING
Disciplinary sector: 
Year of study: 
Second semester
Hours of front activity: 


Coastal dynamics and shoreline protection

Course description

The training objectives of the course are:- knowledge of wave surveys and sediment investigations for the understanding of coastal dynamics;- learning the fundamental properties of sinusoidal and irregular waves;-learning forecast of extreme waves;- learning tools and methods for the study of coastal dynamics and of coastal defences; knowledge of the criteria of hydraulic and structural design of coastal protection works.




Coastal morphodynamics - classification of the coasts - sediment classification - granulometric scales - granulometric indices - beach profiles.
Wave generation - characteristics of winds - winds on the ground and at altitude - Beaufort scale - wave prediction from the wind - mathematical models for forecasting - significant wave method (SMB).
Linear wave theory - principle of conservation of mass and momentum - boundary conditions - I order solution - characteristics of the waves obtained from the I order solution - kinematics and I order dynamics.
Wave transformation - shoaling and refraction - analytical methods for the calculation of refraction - breaking - Irribarren parameter - wave steepness - breaking wave classification.
Random waves - wave measurement - analysis of wave records in time and frequency domain - characteristic waves - significant wave.
Measurement instruments - wave buoys - National Wave Network - interval and record period - preliminary analysis of data;
Statistical description of the sea state - Gaussian distribution of vertical displacements - Wavelength statistics - time domain analysis - up-crossing method - parameters obtained from the up-crossing method - significant height;
Sea level - astronomical and meteorological tide - wave set-up, wind set-up and reverse barometer - wave run-up;
Transport of sediments - bottom and suspended transport - bottom stransport for steady motion - forces agents and resistive forces - the number of Shields - the parameter of Shields - suspended transport for steady motion - fall speed- bottom and suspended transport for waves and currents;
Transverse transport - transport mechanism in the swash zone - qualitative parameters of erosion and accretion - quantitative parameters - Bruun rule - calculation of the erosion in static and dynamic conditions;
Longitudinal transport - equations - single line models - GENESIS model - model calibration - comparison with the evolution of the coastline obtained from remote sensing - numerical applications;
Long-term wave predictions - Gumbel and Weibull distribution functions - sample selection - POT method - parameter calculation - adaptation test - design wave height calculation - return period and design life - Technical Recommendations on the return period;
Forces exerted on breakwaters - parameters that regulate the hydraulic behavior - Irribarren's parameter - Hydraulic design - run-up and overtopping rate - overtopping limits - transmission coefficient;
Examination of the main defense works - atlas of the ISPRA coastal works - design principles - main selection of defense works according to the Technical Recommendations of the Ministry of Public Works.
Structural Design - Hudson Formula - Hudson limits - Van Der Meer Equations - Natural and Artificial blocks - Structure and Head Trunk stability coefficient -
Artificial nourishment - equilibrium profile and classification of nourishment - calculation of volume and longevity - dredging - sampling and analysis - ISPRA manual.

Students in the first part of the course will have to learn the main tools of the maritime hydraulics aimed at the
weather-marine characterization of a coastal area. In the second part they will have to face the study of coastal dynamics and of the different types coastal protection works.
In the first part, the course contains the basic information on the preliminary investigations of wave exposure, on the analysis of linear and irregular waves, on the transformation of the waves due to the effect of depth, on the breaking waves.
It also contains information for choosing the offshore and inshore design wave.
In the second part of the course students will examine the coastal morphology with the concepts of equilibrium profile, transverse and longitudinal transport, and the examination of the main defense works with their basic characteristics. They will also examine the hydraulic and structural design of the main defense works and artificial nourishment.

Teaching Methods

Frontal lessons
Technical visit


Benassai E., 2010. Le onde marine. Liguori Editori, Napoli.
Benassai G., 2006. Introduction to coastal dynamics and shoreline protection. WIT press, Southampton.
CEM Coastal Engineering Manual.
Dean R.A., Dalrymple B., 1984. Water wave mechanics for engineers and scientists. Prentice Hall.

Learning assessment

The exam includes an oral exam.
A test is scheduled on the first part (maritime hydraulics),if passed allows to be examined only on the second part of the course.

More information