We present an analysis related to the evaluation of Morison and transverse force coefficients in the case of a submerged square barrier subject to the action of solitary waves. To this purpose, two-dimensional experimental research was undertaken in the wave flume of the University of Calabria, in which a rigid square barrier was provided by a discrete battery of pressure sensors to determine the horizontal and vertical hydrodynamic forces. A total set of 18 laboratory tests was carried out by varying the motion law of a piston-type paddle. Owing to the low Keulegan–Carpenter numbers of the tests, the force regime of the physical tests was defined by the dominance of the inertia loads in the horizontal direction and of the lift loads in the vertical one. Through the use of the time series of wave forces and the undisturbed kinematics, drag, horizontal inertia, lift, and vertical inertia coefficients in the Morison and transverse semi-empirical schemes were calculated using time-domain approaches, adopting the WLS1 method for the minimization of the difference between the maximum forces and the linked phase shifts by comparing laboratory and calculated wave loads. Practical equations to calculate these coefficients as a function of the wave non-linearity were introduced. The obtained results highlighted the prevalence of the horizontal forces in comparison with the vertical ones which, however, prove to be fundamental for stability purposes of the barrier. An overall good agreement between the experimental forces and those calculated by the calibrated semi-empirical schemes was found, particularly for the positive horizontal and vertical loads. The analysis of the hydrodynamic coefficients showed a decreasing trend for the drag, horizontal inertia, and lift coefficients as a function of the wave non-linearity, while the vertical inertia coefficient underlined an initial increasing trend and a successive slight decreasing trend.
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