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Published July 1, 1957 | public
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Water waves generated by the translatory and oscillatory surface disturbance

Wu, T. Yao-tsu


The problem under consideration is that of two-dimensional gravity waves in water generated by a surface disturbance which oscillates with frequency Ω/2π and moves with constant rectilinear velocity U over the free water surface. The present treatment may be regarded as a generalization of a previous paper by De Prima and Wu (Ref. 1) who treated the surface waves due to a disturbance which has only the rectilinear motion. It was pointed out in Ref. 1 that the dispersive effect, not the viscous effect, plays the significant role in producing the final stationary wave configuration, and the detailed dispersion phenomenon clearly exhibits itself through the formulation of a corresponding initial value problem. Following this viewpoint, the present problem is again formulated first as an initial value problem in which the surface disturbance starts to act at a certain time instant and maintains the prescribed motion thereafter. If at any finite time instant the boundary condition is imposed that the resulting disturbance vanishes at infinite distance (because of the finite wave velocity), then the limiting solution, with the time oscillating term factored out, is mathematically determinate as the time tends to infinity and also automatically has the desired physical properties. From the associated physical constants of this problem, namely Ω, U, and the gravity constant g, a nondimensional parameter of importance is found to be a = 4ΩU/g. The asymptotic solution for large time shows that the space distribution of the wave trains are different for 0 < a < 1 and a> 1. For 0 < a < 1 and time large, the solution shows that there are three wave trains in the downstream and one wave in the upstream of the disturbance. For a > 1, two of these waves are suppressed, leaving two waves in the downstream. At a = 1, a kind of "resonance" phenomenon results in which the amplitude and the extent in space of one particular wave both increase with time at a rate proportional to t^(1/2). Two other special cases: (1) Ω → 0 and U > 0, (2) U = 0, Ω > 0 are also discussed; in these cases the solution reduces to known results.

Additional Information

Office of Naval Research, Department of the Navy, Contract Nonr-220(28). Approved by M.S. Plesset.


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