Structures for Coastal Protection and Energy Harvesting

Access to renewable energy and protection of coastlines are two major challenges that we are currently facing. In addition, shoreline receding has also become a global problem. Mangrove trees could serve as a bio-inspired model a new generation for coastal protection structures and hydrokinetic energy harvesting. Mangrove trees form dense networks of prop roots in coastal intertidal zones. The interaction of mangroves with tidal and river flows is fundamental to the preservation of estuaries and shorelines by providing water filtration, protection against erosion, and habitat for aquatic animals.

In this work, we present a mangrove-like structure that could be used for coastal protection and energy harvesting. We modeled the mangrove roots as a patch of cylinders that could be either rigidly fixed or hinged at the top to allow for one-degree motion perpendicular to the flow. For the case that the roots are able to move, an electrical generator was attached to the cylinder to measure the open circuit voltage. In this work, we present drag measurement, flow structures, roots kinematics and open circuit voltage for key parameters: roots arrangement, porosity, and hinged stiffness. A new length scale, the “effective diameter,” is proposed by comparing the Strouhal number of the patches with the analytical Strouhal number of a canonical cylinder in the flow field that produces the same vortex shedding. In addition, I will discuss a unique parametrization that correlates mangrove-root properties with flow parameters and forces.

Oscar Curet, Ph.D.

Mechanical Engineering

Florida Atlantic University

Oscar Curet is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering at Florida Atlantic University. He completed his Ph.D and M.S. in mechanical engineering at Northwestern University and his B.S also in mechanical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez campus. Before joining FAU, he was Postdoctoral Researcher at Brown University. His research work is in the area of bio-mimetic systems with focus in fluid dynamics, marine propulsion, multi-agent systems, energy harvesting and coastal preservation. His research has been funded by multiple agencies including National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the Janke Foundation. He was awarded an NSF CAREER in 2018.