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Coastal Engineering
The coastal environment offers many exciting opportunities and considerable challenges to scientists and engineers – opportunities in the fields of navigation, fishing, minerals, renewable energy, offshore oil and gas extraction, infrastructure and recreation; challenges to understand the many complex processes (hydrodynamic, morphological, biological, social and economic) that shape the coastline, to protect against flooding and erosion, and to ensure that development is not at an unacceptable and unsustainable cost to the environment. One of the great delights of working in this field is its breadth, spanning many traditional subject boundaries and bringing together multi-disciplinary teams. Coastal engineering has played an important part in the life of the department at UCL for many years. While Head of Civil Engineering here 100 years ago, L.F.Vernon-Harcourt was a world-leading designer of harbours, docks and waterways. Fifty years later, Pat Kemp initiated a study of Chesil Beach that set the subsequent direction of research in the group. Initially, this was channelled into two streams: turbulence-sediment interaction and wave-current interaction. These strands have now extended across the breadth of coastal engineering and include the modelling of coastal morphology, development of renewables (wave, tide, wind energy), use of spatial science, understanding of basic hydrodynamic processes, and emphasis on management and stewardship of marine resources. The group has a reputation for performing meticulous experiments involving the interaction of waves, currents, sediments and structures. This work depends heavily on excellent laboratory facilities, modern instrumentation and technical support. At present there is access to two wave-current flumes, a tidal reversing flume, a deep-water wave flume, a low turbulence flume, a model tsunami generator, a wind tunnel and a desk-top model of a tidal estuary. Complementing these facilities, the group is making use of advanced computer models and techniques to understand and predict coastal processes. Members of the group work closely with colleagues from other UCL departments and industry in developing novel solutions to practical problems.
2 Researchers
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