The U-OWC is a caisson breakwater embodying a device for wave energy absorption. Under the wave action, the pressure acting on the upper opening of the vertical duct fluctuates, producing a water discharge alternatively entering/exiting the plant through the U-duct, formed by the duct and the chamber. The interaction between incoming waves and the water discharge alters the wave pressure distribution along the wave-beaten wall of this breakwater compared with the pressure distributions on a vertical pure reflecting wall. As a consequence, the horizontal wave forces produced on the breakwater are also different. A small scale U-OWC breakwater was put off the eastern coast of the Strait of Messina (Southern Italy) to measure the horizontal wave force. Experimental results were compared with Boccotti’s and Goda’s wave pressure formulas, carried out for conventional upright breakwaters, to check their applicability on the U-OWC breakwaters. Both models are suitable for design of U-OWC breakwaters even if they tend to overestimate by up to 25% the actual horizontal loads on the breakwater. Indeed, the greater the absorption of the energy is, the lower the wave pressure on the breakwater wall is.
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