Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering - (Ph.D.)


Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

First Advisor

Simone Marras

Second Advisor

Juan Carlos Cajas

Third Advisor

Chao Zhu

Fourth Advisor

Samaneh Farokhirad

Fifth Advisor

Kyle T. Mandli


Communities worldwide are increasingly interested in nature-based solutions like coastal forests for the mitigation of coastal risks. Still, it remains unclear how much protective benefit vegetation provides, particularly in the limit of highly energetic flows after tsunami impact. The present thesis, using a three-dimensional incompressible computational fluid dynamics model with a fluid-structure interaction approach, aims to quantify how energy reflection and dissipation vary with different degrees of rigidity and vegetation density of a coastal forest.

In this study, tree trunks are represented as cylinders, and the elastic modulus of hardwood trees such as pine or oak is used to characterize the rigidity of these cylinders. To capture tsunami bore propagation in onshore, dam break flow is used over the wet surface in the numerical studies. After validating numerical code against experimental studies, multi-cylinder configurations are incorporated and Froude Number is used to scale the flow parameters and vegetation flow parameter (VFP) to scale the tree parameters such as elastic modulus, the diameter of the trunk, etc. Numerical tests are conducted for different cylinder diameters, densities, and elastic moduli.

The numerical results show that energy reflection increases with rigidity only for a single cylinder. In the presence of multiple cylinders, the difference in energy reflection created by varying rigidity diminishes as the number of cylinders increases. Instead of rigidity, the blockage area created by the presence of multiple tree trunks is found to dominate energy reflection.

As tree trunks are deformed by the hydrodynamic forces, they alter the flow field around them, causing turbulent kinetic energy generation in the wake region. As a consequence, trees dissipate flow energy, highlighting the importance of coastal forests in reducing the onshore energy flux of tsunamis by means of both reflection and dissipation.



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