Dutch scientists create world’s largest artificial waves to help flood protection

Dutch researchers have created the world’s largest man-made waves to help develop ways of protecting coastlines against them.

The Deltares institute, near Delft, has found a way to generate 5m-high waves at its Delta Flume facility using water pumped at a 1,000l a second.

The wave-maker is 300m long, 9.5m deep and 5m wide and can hold 9 million litres of liquid.

The length of the flume is needed to "simulate wave formation on gradually rising coasts" and the depth makes it possible to achieve the desired height.

The facility cost $30m and took more than two years to build.

The flume can test fully sized flood defence technology such as barriers and dams. Bas Hofland, a coastal engineer at Deltares, told the BBC: "Certain things we cannot make smaller, certain things we want to model at full-scale.

"Grass on a dyke, or clay, or sands – they are things you cannot scale down because the properties change."

The company says "innovative measures" are needed so we can "live in safety and keep our feet dry". Flooding kills 7,000 people a year and causes $25bn of damage.

Images via Deltares

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