Texas A&M researchers are testing how a combination of sand dunes with coastal structures could better protect against flooding.
Nearly half the world’s population lives within 62 miles of a coastline. This means exposure to the increasing risk of flooding and destruction in light of rising sea levels, eroding coastlines, and more frequent weather events that bring storm surge and devastating waves to the coast.
Jens Figlus, associate professor in the Department of Ocean Engineering at Texas A&M University at Galveston, and a team of researchers are safeguarding coastal communities through better-designed hybrid coastal structures. These structures combine the benefits of coastal sand dunes with those offered by traditional, human-made structures, like seawalls, sea dikes and rubble mounds, to elevate their effectiveness and resilience.
In an international endeavor to strengthen coasts around the globe, the team is combining physical model testing with numerical simulations to outline the physical properties to achieve the best defense against flooding. This work, inspired by natural sand dunes, will bridge the gap between research and application — allowing such structures to be utilized around the globe.
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