Wave Flume

Wave flume: Department of Energy Engineering – UPV/EHU

The multipurpose wave flume of the Department of Energy Engineering – UPV/EHU allows to perform experimental tests on wave interaction with physical scaled models at low TRL design state, in diverse marine engineering fields (e. g. Offshore Renewable Energy – ORE).

Apart from the description of the phenomenon, the wave flume enables the validation of numerical models (CFD) with the potential capacity of describing the phenomenology in real scale prototypes.

Technical characteristics and components

Dimensions: 13m x 0.6m x 0.7m (length x width x height) 

Wavemaker: piston type

The reciprocating motion of a vertical plate is originated by a linear actuator driven by an electric motor. The servo drive system is capable of implementing the exact necessary stroke pattern for each type of regular wave and/or wave spectrum. Active type wave extinction system is incorporated in order to prevent re-reflection of external incoming waves.

Wide range of wave generation: regular and irregular waves

  • Servo drive and motor Delta AC (ASDA-A2 series): rated output power of 0.75 kW, maximum torque of 7.16 N·m, maximum turning speed of 5000 rpm
  • K series linear actuator (KM60-10 roller screw model): maximum force of 3 kN and maximum linear speed of 833 mm/s

Wave probes:

They are used to capture the time series evolution of the free surface elevation at specific longitudinal locations of the flume and/or physical models. From the signals of a collection of wave probes the properties of the waves (height, period and wavelength) are determined. In addition, the separation of incident and reflected waves is performed from the measurement of the wave resulting from the superposition.



Extinction system:

Extinction system located at the opposite end from the wave generation region minimizes the unwanted propagation of reflected waves in the opposite direction of the incoming waves. A parabolic adjustable system allows for optimizing the configuration to specific patterns of incident waves.

Parabolic beach with adjustable height and slope

Examples of possible tests

Oscillating water column (OWC) systems

Scaled physical models are tested to investigate the response of the oscillating water column to different types of regular waves (period, height, wavelength) or wave spectrum. With this type of studies the optimization of the design of the air chamber and damping introduced by the power-take-off system is performed.

Wave Overtopping

Scaled structures are subjected to a wave spectrum to study the mean relative overtopping discharge and volume, as a function of the geometry of the structure and the characteristics of the incoming waves. Wave overtopping is a crucial phenomenon when studying the survival of marine structures under harsh sea states in ocean engineering.

Decay tests

The non-linear hydrodynamic behavior is captured by measuring the response of a floating structure taken out of the equilibrium position defined in the 6 possible degrees of freedom (most typical: surge, heave, pitch and roll). Experimental tests capturing the real nature of a viscous fluid are compulsory in contrast to classic linear computation methods based on potential flow.

Reflection studies

The phenomenon of wave reflection in a self-designed extinction system can be minimized by a systematic characterization of the performance of the device under different wave conditions in the flume. The dependence of the wave reflection on the wave characteristics and the position (height and slope) is worth being established.


  • “Optimización del rendimiento de instalaciones de generación undimotriz basadas en la tecnología OWC fija: caracterización hidrodinámica, constructiva y económica – GENERA-OWC” Gobierno Vasco – 2021 – 2023
  • “Relanzamiento de las Energías renovables mediante la formación de alto Nivel para el Offshore dentro de la cadena de VAlor de la BLue Economy, estableciendo Sinergias dentro de la Eurorregión – RENOVABLES" Eurorregión / Euroeskualdea – 2021 – 2022
  • “Contactless Submarine Power Transfer Station Demonstrator – COLAB19/02” Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea – 2020 – 2021
  • “Minimización de los efectos del cambio climático en el edificio y su entorno: desde la eficiencia en el uso de la energía a la generación mediante fuentes renovables E-CLEDER" Gobierno Vasco – 2019 – 2021
  • “Matemáticas Inteligentes para Eólica Offshore – MATHEO" Gobierno Vasco – 2019 – 2020
  • “Investigación Colaborativa en Energías Renovables Marinas – ICERMAR I y II” Gobierno Vasco – 2015 – 2017


  • Galera-Calero, L., Blanco, J.M., Izquierdo, U., Esteban, G.A. | Performance Assessment of Three Turbulence Models Validated through an Experimental Wave Flume under Different Scenarios of Wave Generation | Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, (8) 881, 2020. IF: 2.033 (Q2), eISSN: 2077-1312
  • Izquierdo, U., Galera-Calero, L., Albaina, I., Esteban, G.A., Aristondo, A., Blanco, J.M. | Experimental and numerical characterisation of a 2D wave flume | DYNA (94) 662-668, 2019. IF: 0.629 (Q4), ISSN: 0012-7361
  • Izquierdo, U., Esteban, G.A., Blanco, J.M., Albaina, I., Peña, A. | Experimental validation of a CFD model using a narrow wave flume | Applied Ocean Research (86) 1-12, 2019. IF: 2.436 (Q1), ISSN: 0141-1187

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