The main objective of BSafe4Sea is to develop, test and prove the concept of forecasting the structural behaviour of rubble mound breakwaters. It will form the basis of an innovative decision support system for planning and prioritizing maintenance and repair works, thereby increasing the safety, functionality and resilience of breakwaters.
Investment in port infrastructure in Portugal is a priority in national strategic plans, directed mainly at rehabilitation/maintenance interventions. So, the development of such a system is both timely and urgent, due to the extreme conditions that rubble mound breakwaters have to withstand, including the effects of climate change. These structures at national/foreign ports are important elements in modern transport networks for goods and passengers, with undeniable socio-economic benefits. Keeping breakwaters in good shape through advanced warning of damage, and taking the necessary corrective measures, will reduce maintenance costs and economic losses associated with downtime in ports.
The new system will be based on drone photography, video monitoring and satellite navigation (GNSS) to identify changes in the breakwater’s armour layer and superstructure. The applicability of recently developed measurement and analysis techniques will be assessed, both in prototype and physical models, to establish the most effective and economical combination to analyse the structure’s condition.
The project will also contribute to an understanding of the hydraulic-structural behaviour of rubble mound breakwaters, including for climate change scenarios, by comparing field measurements and results from physical (2D/3D) and numerical (RANS) models. This will enable the development/testing of new empirical models (and comparison with existing ones) for predicting the erosion of armour layers with artificial concrete blocks (the most commonly used in Portugal nowadays) and the dynamic forces on the superstructure. These models will be implemented in the new system to forecast the rubble mound breakwater’s behaviour and help decision-makers to adopt the best possible management options. The test cases will be the Sines East and Peniche West breakwaters, which have different types of armour blocks and superstructures.
A multidisciplinary and international team has been assembled with expertise in five fields:
In addition, and essential for the relevance of the project output to other end-users, is the close collaboration of the port administrations of Sines and Peniche, and the technical and scientific support of BSafe4Sea Consultant, Dr. Jentsje Van der Meer, whose expertise is recognized internationally.