Laboratory Study of the Stability
of Sand-Filled Nylon


Breakwater Structures
Robert Ray






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MR 77-4


(and Subtitle)






Miscellaneous Report





Robert Ray


Department of the Army Coastal Engineering Research Center (CEREN-DE) Kingman Building, Fort Belvoir, Virginia 22060




Department of the Army Coastal Engineering Research Center Kingman Building, Fort Belvoir, Virginia

March 1977

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Breakwaters Laboratory tests Low-cost shore protection

Sandbag breakwaters Sandbag materials Waves


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necesaary and identity by block number)

One emergent and three submerged breakwaters built of sand-filled nylon bags on a sand bed were subjected to progressively more severe wave conditions in full-scale laboratory tests. The tests determined the properties of the bags, the effects of wave action on placement of bags, and the performance of bags and structures for various combinations of structure configuration and wave conditions. The changes in the sand bed at the base of the structures and the wave attenuation by the breakwaters were also investigated. (Continued)






NOV 65





The uncoated nylon material deteriorated after 1-year exposure to sunlight and was torn by handling equipment during breakwater construction. Wet material was slippery and trapped air. When filled with sand, the smooth, rounded bags, sometimes cushioned by an air bubble, failed to interlock adequately to prevent motion under the least severe wave condition. Bags were accurately dropped into place during wave action to construct one of the submerged breakwaters.

During testing, the structures' configurations changed drastically, primarily from movement of bags during the first wave attack of the least severe wave condition and during the steepest wave condition. The two highest submerged breakwaters lost whole layers of bags from their crests, and the seaward face of the emergent breakwater slumped from a slope of 1 on 3 to a slope of 1 on 5.3. As wave conditions changed, scour and accretion occurred alternately at the breakwaters' toes, but caused no measurable settlement. The emergent breakwater and the highest submerged breakwater, the two producing greater than 30 percent wave attenuation, underwent the most wave-induced damage.


S. Jachowski. Army Coastal Engineering Research Center (CERC) The report was prepared by Robert Ray.. Corps of Engineers Acting Commander and Director . The laboratory tests were conducted by R. Research Support Division. 88th Congress. The work was cardesign. Chief. and construction of nylon sandbag structures. and G. WILSON P. as supplemented by Public Law 172. Chief. Coastal Design Criteria Branch. R. Approved for publication in accordance with Public Law 166. approved 7 November 1963. Comments on this publication are invited. Simmons. project engineer. approved 31 July 1945.sediment hydraulic interaction program of the U. 79th Congress. ANDREWS LTC. Operations Branch. under the supervision of Jachowski. ried out under the structure. Engineering Development Division. PREFACE This report is published to assist coastal engineers in the planning.

CUSTOMARY TO METRIC (SI) I 8 INTRODUCTION 1. Surveys 6. Dry and Submerged Weight Test BAG BREAKWATER TESTS 9 9 9 II 10 10 10 12 17 17 20 20 27 28 28 29 34 34 49 III General 2. Background 2. Design Considerations. Test II 9. 3. Sandbag Problems and Improvements CONCLUSIONS 1. Sandbag Dimensions and Weights 2. Exposure Test 2. Test IV 1. Nature and Purpose of Study BAG PROPERTY TESTS 1. BIBLIOGRAPHY 66 66 66 68 68 69 69 71 VI .CONTENTS Page CONVERSION FACTORS. Breakwater Construction 4.S. IV ANALYSIS 1. . Breakwater Performance 3. Structure Stability Wave Transmission 55 55 55 64 V GENERAL OBSERVATIONS 1. Bag Problems 2. . Test Descriptions 7. Test I 8. Drop Test 3. Wave Conditions 5. • APPENDIX EXAMPLES OF NYLON SANDBAG SHORE PROTECTION STRUCTURES: IN THE UNITED STATES 72 TABLES 1 Nylon bag and material specifications Changes in the weight of submerged sandbags with time 13 14 2 . Sandbag Performance 2. U. . Test III 10. Wave Tank Preparation 3. .

Changes in structure conditions 12 average profile for four wave 30 31 13 14 15 Front face after midtest tank draining Backface after midtest tank draining Sand bed to seaward.CONTENTS TABLES-Continued Page 3 Sandbag weights in air and submerged Changes in the configuration of sandbag breakwaters under wave action Wave transmission by sandbag breakwaters 15 4 60 65 5 FIGURES 1 Sandbag exposed to sunlight. September 1968 11 3 Submerged bag weight versus time Ratio of submerged to dry bag weights versus time Wave tank test situation and survey ranges 16 18 4 5 19 6 Calibration curves for the large wave tank with a 3-foot-deep sand layer on the bottom Structural scheme in profile 21 7 22 24 8 Hanging bag for filling Filling bag Sewing bag opening closed 9 25 10 11 25 26 I Placing bag Test I. 11 2 Sandbag exposed to sunlight... October 1967 .. midtest tank draining Wave "peaking up" during wave condition d 31 32 16 17 18 33 35 35 Front face at end of test I Backface at end of test I 5 .

40 . 30 31 First layer of bags (test III) Breakwater crest before wave action 32 Breakwater crest under wave trough during wave condition Changes in structure III average profile for Test III. 48 6 .. wave condition a Breakwater crest under wave trough during wave condition Wave breaking on structure during wave condition Front face at end of test III c 46 46 47 47 48 36 37 38 39 Backface at end of test III Damaged bags in front face at end of test III First layer of structure IV on front face of structure III. . 44 33 45 46 c . 34 35 Additional layer after 10 waves. four wave conditions .CONTENTS FIGURES-Continued Page 19 Sand bed to seaward at end of test 1 36 1 20 21 Relief pipe on sand bed and remains of structure First layer of bags (test II) Wave approaching breaking during wave condition 36 37 22 23 24 d 38 38 Wave breaking during wave condition d Changes in structure II average profile for four wave Test II. .. conditions Backface and damaged bags at end of test II 39 25 26 27 40 40 41 41 Damaged bags at end of test II Front face at end of test II 28 29 Sand bed to seaward at end of test II Repairs to structure III II and first layer of bags for structure 42 42 44 a . .

CONTENTS FIGURES-Continued Page 41 Front face before wave action 50 50 42 43 Backface before wave action Wave breaking on front face after loss of seaward row of bags on breakwater crest during wave condition a 51 44 Breaking wave overtopping after loss of seaward row of bags on breakwater crest during wave condition a Front face slumping after 30 waves during wave condition a . 45 . Changes in structure IV average profile for three wave conditions 53 48 54 49 50 51 Front face at end of test IV 56 56 Backface at end of test IV First bag-grip design picking up bag First bag-grip design holding bag 57 57 58 52 53 54 55 56 Improved bag-grip design picking up bag Improved bag-grip design holding bag Effects of wave action on structure configuration Wave attenuation versus relative crest elevation for sandbag breakwater 58 61 67 . 51 . 52 46 Front face after 50 waves shows seaward row of bags missing from breakwater crest during wave condition a 53 47 Backface after 50 waves shows shoreward row of bags across crest intact during wave condition a Test IV.

S.35 453. To K = (5/9) (F- 32) +273. use formula: obtain Kelvin (K) readings.452 16.S.0160 ton.3558 1.836 meters square meters cubic meters 0.4 To obtain millimeters 2.CONVERSION FACTORS. long 1.0197 X 10-3 28. U.15.7646 1.0929 0.4047 1. use formula: C = (5/9) (F — 32).54 square inches cubic inches feet centimeters square centimeters cubic centimeters 6. customary uiiils of units as follows: (SI) measurement used in this report can be converted to metric (SI) Multiply inches by 25.3048 square feet cubic feet meters square meters cubic meters 0. .1745 5/9 degrees (angle) Fahrenlieit degrees To obtain Celsius (C) temperature readings from Fahrenheit (F) readings.8532 kilometers per hour hectares 0.6 foot-pounds millibars newton meters kilograms per square centimeter ounces grams pounds grams kilograms metric tons metric tons radians Celsius degrees or Kelvins' 0.39 30.9072 0.0 kilometers hectares square miles knots acres 1. short 0.4536 ton.48 centimeters 0. CUSTOMARY TO METRIC UNITS OF MEASUREMENT U.9144 0.6093 259.0283 yards square yards cubic yards miles 0.

52 meters) wide The tests were conducted to by 8 feet (2. In the late 1960's. durastructures is given in the Appendix. especially settlement and (c) scour. Changes in the sand bed. investigating the use of the bags as a low-cost solution to erosion problems in locations where sand was more available than riprap. Changes in structure configuration by increasingly (d) severe wave conditions for structures of varied design configuration. CERC initiated a project in the fall of 1968 to investigate the stability and effectiveness of sand-filled nylon bag This study describes breakwaters under the attack of shallow-water waves..44 meters) long when empty. The sandbag breakwater project involved full-scale laboratory tests using commercially available standard-size bags 5 feet (1. A LABORATORY STUDY OF THE STABILITY OF SAND-FILLED NYLON BAG BREAKWATER STRUCTURES hy Robert Ray I. or where the cost of building a riprap structure was beyond the financial resources of the property owner. at the base of a breakwater built of randomly placed sand-filled nylon bags with no underlying filter layer. 2. Nature and Purpose of Study . INTRODUCTION 1 Background . (b) Changes in nylon sandbag performance by increasingly severe wave conditions as the structure crest elevation and width were increased. . investigate: (a) Effects of random bag placement on structure config- uration. had been used in Europe for a number of years. ble. little was known about the engineering design criteria of the nylon bag for application to shore proThe Coastal Engineering Research Center (CERC) began tection structures. After studying the performance of some of the small bag structures and receiving inquiries concerning the design of submerged breakwaters using nylon bags. all aspects of the investigation to provide an understanding of the complex phenomena taking place. and resistant to rot and fouling. but susceptible to damage by long Although nylon sandbags exposure to the ultraviolet light in sunlight. Nylon was known to be strong. several small shore protection structures using sand-filled nylon bags were constructed by private homeowners and commuA partial list of those nities on the east coast of the United States.

Drop Test . 1. Uncoated or unprotected white nylon deteriorates under exposure to By the spring of 1967. 2). inspected. 2. 1). Four bags filled with dry sand to about 75 percent capacity were dropped into 10 feet (3.e. evidently due to photochemical (actinic) deterioration of the nylon filaments (Fig. and photographed by divers. tested to determine wave attenuation and breakwater configuration changes while under wave attack. because of restrictions on scheduling the use of laboratory facilities.05 meters) of water. field installations of protective revetments had been built of bags and An estimate of the lifespan of nylon sandsubjected to exposure damage. The original plans for the bag breakwater tests specified 13 different combinations of structure height and crest width. iO . to the weather from April 1967 to September 1968 (Fig. therefore. bags exposed to the weather (protected from vandalism and wave action) was needed for comparison with the performance of alternate construction materials. Exposure Test . BAG PROPERTY TESTS 'II. Between October 1967 and the end of the test. however. The nylon sandbags were tested to determine damage from exposure to sunlight. Four different tests were conducted in two general fields of emphasis-properties of the nylon bag and performance of the bag breakwater structure. Before beginning the breakwater tests. The four structures were i.Wave attenuation hy the breakwaters as wave conditions (e) and structure configurations were changed. the bag split open along the length of the upper face. the bag was probed with the toe of a shoe to test the condition of the material. A single bag was filled with sand and left on a sandpile exposed Periodically. The laboratory construction method was similar to that used in the field. the investigation of the dependence of wave attenuation and bag stability on structure configuration was severely limited. Bags were also observed to land flat on the bottom or on top of other bags during the subsequent breakwater tests. Since nylon filament swells when wet. but those with wet nylon material retained large air pockets when placed either below or above the Stillwater level. bags dropped into position through water.. and weight changes from air retention while submerged. several sunlight. Each bag landed flat on the bottom and retained a trapped air pocket that slowly leaked. only four structures [three submerged and one emergent) were tested. No tests were performed in which the constructed crest width was deliberately varied while the structure height was held constant. the CERC investigators needed to know if bags dropped into water would land in a stable position. the swelling was assumed to be the cause of permeability loss. specifically ultraviolet light. behavior when dropped through water.

Sandbag exposed to sunlight. October 1967. . September 1968.Figure 1. Figure 2. Sandbag exposed to sunlight.

Six identical-sized sand-filled bags were weighed Test Conditions a.110 kilograms) for the three light-material bags. each bag was filled with damp sand from an overhead hopper until about 75 percent full. the air bubble in each bag (except bag was punctured and. inplace weight of bags buried within a structure. Data from the first test. . The average submerged 12 .2 pound (90 grams) . Two different weights.29 meters). A plot of submerged bag weights versus time (Fig. and are not included in Table 2. were erratic during the middle of the test due to a malfunctioning dynamometer. sewn closed. and the submerged weight after puncture could be used to estimate the final. After determining the dry and submerged tare weight of the basket. although only the light-material bags were used in the breakwater tests. 2. The difference in the weights of empty bags of the two materials is only about 0. 3) shows that the largest changes occurred during the first 30 minutes of submergence.275 kilograms) for the three heavy-material bags. or weaves. stockpiled. the final bag weight in water was recorded. and placed in a metal basket suspended by cables from a dynamometer.812 pounds (1. then the weights slowly approached stable values. the dry weight of the bag was recorded. b. and the apparatus was suspended from a steel I-beam to the proper water depth. One light-material bag and one heavy-material bag were submerged in freshwater at a depth of 7.629 pounds (1.193 kilograms) for all six bags. The test apparatus was removed from the tank and the water-saturated weight in air was recorded. The average dry weight was 2.5 feet (2. Test Procedure The test procedure began by filling the bags with sand.447 pounds (1. Although differences among the final submerged weights before puncture corresponded to differences among the dry weights. the heavier material with a Three bags of each material were weight-tested. No reason is known for the consistently higher weights of the sand. Weights from the beginning and end of the test were close to values from other tests (Table 3). The weights at certain times during the submergence tests were recorded for bags 2 to 6 in Table 2. Dry and Submerged Weight Test .. heavy-material bags. At the end of the test period. "tighter" weave (Table 1). while submerged to determine the typical weights o£ bags used in the breakwater tests and the effects of submergence depth and material weight on time-dependent changes in the volume of trapped air. and 2.filled. The final submerged weight before puncture appeared to be the stable weight for bags undisturbed during air leakage. The submerged weight was recorded at various time intervals (Table 2). using a light-material bag. The other four bags were submerged at a depth of 5 feet. As in the breakwater tests. 3. . 1) c. after at least a 5-minute wait. no relationship to differences in material or depth of submergence was apparent. of nylon material were tested. Bag Weights The bag weights in air and at the end of the submergence tests are recorded in Table 3.

56 filament. ^No specifications for the empty bags or fabric were recorded at the time of the tests beyond the general Two small samples of bag dimensions (5 by 8 feet). uncoated nylon yarn. Fabric weights were estimated from the measured weights of the two samples and were used with the bag dimensions to estimate the empty bag weights. sions measured from the sample bag are assumed to be typical of all the bags used in the bag property and breakwater tests. 13 .Table 1 . Nyl on bag and material specifications. lightBag dimenmaterial bag were saved after the tests. light and heavy nylon material and a single.1 7. Empty bag dimensions Length (in) Body Width (in) Body Top opening 20 Body and woven ends 104 96 60 Material specifications Bag material-^ Fabric construction (ends/in) Fabric weight (oz/yd2) Estimated bag weight^ (lb) (picks/in) 23 25 Light 31 7.3 4.5 Heavy 31 ^The fabric was made of 840 denier.5 4.

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from the initial value to the value after puncture. The ratio between the submerged and dry bag weights The change of was a measure of the proportion of air trapped in a bag. Four sandbag breakwaters were built and tested to determine structure stability and wave attenuation. 5). respectively. each structure had one row of bags along its crest forming a crest width of approximately 7 feet. the total weight gained during. tg. If the specific the ratio with time for five bags is plotted in Figure 4.65 and the specific gravity of the bag itself is neglected. 1. heavy-material bags gained 80 pounds (36 kilograms) or more immediately after puncture.13 meters) high above the sand bed. The light-material bags stabilized in less time than the heavy-material bags. Structures III and IV were 12.2 hours at the same depth. The ratio immediately before puncture averaged 0.532 for the heavy-material bags. Tests were conducted at full scale on a sand bed in 12 feet (3. respectively. The rate at which a bag approached a stable condition was measured by considering the asymptotic behavior of the change of weight with time and assuming that the bag weight stabilized when it reached 99 percent of the final prepuncture submerged weight. gravity of the damp sand in the dry bag is assumed to be 2. submergence. Although the heavy-material bags held more sand when filled to 75 percent of capacity. BAG BREAKWATER TESTS General .2 and 7 feet (0. Wave attenuation was determined by comparing wave . Both light.66 meters) of water (Fig.5 feet stabilized faster than the bags submerged 5 feet. The time required to reach stability. the maximum for a light-material bag was only 2.488 pounds (675 kilograms) for all five bags. The light-material bags contained a slightly smaller proportion of air when the bag weight stabilized.27 meters) Many aspects of the testing program were planned to represent prototype conditions.and and 1.373 pounds (623 kilograms) for two lightmaterial bags. Structures I and 11 were 3. is given for bags 2 to 6 in Table 3.1 and 16. The breakwaters were built in layers by dropping bags through water onto a sand bed. Air Retention d. .545 for the lightmaterial bags and 0. the ratio of submerged to dry weight for a submerged bag with all air replaced by water would be 0.4 feet (3. was a maximum of 235 pounds (107 kilograms) for the light-material bags (bag 3) and 325 pounds (147 kilograms) for the heavy-material bags (bag 4).69 and 5 meters) high. however.98 and 2. and each had two rows of bags along its crest forming a crest width of approximately 14 feet (4. the light-material bags used for the breakwater tests reached a stable submerged weight more quickly and contained a smaller proportion of air when stable. 1.623. and the bags submerged 7. The maximum tg was 17 hours for a heavy-material bag at a 5-foot depth.565 pounds (710 kilograms) for three heavy-material bags. III.weight after puncture was 1.

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5). four bags wide with the long axis of each bag alined parallel to the wave direction. 6) were drawn by graphing the average wave height calculated from records for each generator setting and wave gage position. . Calibration curves (Fig.92 meters) The tank was filled with freshwater to a depth of 15 feet along the tank. Structural Scheme The nylon bags. Enough new rows of bags were placed on the seaward side of the old structure to provide a base for the increased crest elevation of the new structure. . survey profiles.93 meters) from the midposition of the * generator. 20 . completion of structure I tests. running through the structure site on the surface of the sand bed to aid draining the tank without damage to the structure.10 meters) deep.55 meters) long by 15 feet (4. and structure configuration was described by measuring crest elevation and front. filled to 75 percent of capacity.1 foot (0. .foot depth at the breakwater site. (0.10 meters) from the 'absorber end of the tank (Fig. c. . The wave gage at station 0+00 was removed before construction of the first breakwater. Wave periods of 6 and 10 seconds were chosen for the breakwater tests. Wave Tank Preparation .91 meter) layer of unwashed sand (0. 635 feet (193.03 meter) were installed at station 0+00 and at positions to seaward and shoreward (Fig. a. In preparation for the breakwater tests. leaving a 12. After at the generator. 2. Rows of bags were placed every 7 feet along the tank with each successive layer overlapping the previous layer by one-half bag (Fig. The design crest elevations of the test structures graduated from the lowest to the highest. 7). A rubble wave absorber was built in the of producing monochromatic waves. were dropped into place to represent field construction techniques. staTank Modification b. tank at a position 610 feet (185. an 8-inch-diameter (20. Step-resistance wave gages capable of measuring water level changes to 0.57 meters) wide by The wave generator was a piston-type capable 20 feet (6. Wave heights for these periods were measured both electronically and visually as generator settings were changed. Wave Condition Calibration The presence of the sand bed required calibrating the tank to determine the wave height at the breakwater site. each structure being the base for its successor. 3. wave tank.3 centimeters) corrugated metal pipe was mounted along one side of the tank. The breakwater tests were conducted in the large Tank Description a.heights measured without a structure in the tank to heights measured with Structure stability was determined by comparing a structure in the tank.or seaward-face slopes from the survey profiles. 5). tioning was established along the tank with station 0+00 located 230 feet A 3-foot (70.4-millimeter mean diameter) was laid from the face of the wave absorber to a point 400 feet (121. The breakwaters were built in layers. Breakwater Construction .

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Hand-held electric sewing machine. the sand bed was graded. Bag Placement Through-the-water placement was accomplished using only the bag placement diagram as a guide. a plan for the structure was prepared and a sufficient supply of sandbags was filled and stockpiled.1 feet (0. regrade the sand bed.g. In accordance with the diagram. Sand-filler hopper. (e) 15-ton-capacity (13.6 metric tons) crane with special bag-grip feature added to the clam jaws.46 meter). This survey was used to determine the number and placement of bags needed to obtain the desired structure configuration. a bag placement diagram was then drawn showing the location and installation order of each new bag. One complete layer was placed before proceeding to the next. II. Equipment struction: (a) (b) (c) (d) .to 80percent capacity simplified sewing the bags closed and increased the stability of individual bags and the structure by allowing the bags to assume a flattened shape. but surveys and occasional draining of the tank revealed remarkably good results with this placement method. d. . and III. The following equipment was used for breakwater con- Caprolan nylon sandbags. 8. 11). e. 23 . 1-cubic yard-capacity (0. Before each test. (f) Construction plans including bag placement instructions. and 10). then sewn closed (Figs. The water was always too cloudy to visually detect any misplaced bags. for structure 1. 7 feet long by 4 feet (1. starting at a tank wall and building a row across to the other tank wall. as judged by eye. Construction Preparation Before the construction of a breakwater began.5 feet (0. the tank was prepared for construction of a breakwater. remove damaged bags. 9. The designs for structures I and II were based on an assumed inplace bag thickness of 1. then back to the original wall in a zigzag pattern until the layer was complete. the crane bucket would be positioned above the water's surface before dropping the bag (Fig. but surveys after construction indicated an inplace bag thickness of 1. then the original simple structural plan was used to diagram bag placement. Filling the bags to only 75. facilitating interlocking among the installed bags. the value used for the revised designs of structures III and IV.22 meters) wide when lying on their sides. and make a survey of the base for the next structure. Bags were filled with damp sand from the overhead hopper until at least 75-percent full.34 meter).b.76 cubic meter) front-end loader. After structure tests I. the tank was drained to inspect the existing structure.. c. .

Hanging bag for filling.Figure 8. 24 .

Figure 9. 25 . Filling bag.

Figure 11. Placing bag. 26 .

In each test the structure was subjected to approximately the following wave conditions (structure IV was subjected to only the first three conditions). The attenuation factor. the higher crested structures of tests III and IV produced 27 . The test conditions were scheduled in the order of increasing wave energy. at the beginning of test III.22) b c (1.9 5. before a radical change in the structure configuration. In contrast.0 3. were considered to be the incident wave heights. H^. Wave Conditions . During each test and at various times during each wave condition. The procedure for generating waves was determined by the severity of wave reflection from the test structure and of resulting changes in the wave conditions. was defined in dimensionless form as: A . allowing at least 16 hours for the bags to leak the trapped air. permitting waves to be generated continuously for up to 2 hours. From the tank calibration curves. and IV. as measured at station 0-46 during calibration: Condition a Height:. These three breakwaters were not subjected to wave action until the day following completion of construction through still water.7 (1. H^ (ft) Cm) Period.8 (1. 4. Structures I and 11 produced little wave reflection.83 meters) for wave periods of 6 and 10 seconds were selected to produce the test waves. For structures 11. The transmitted wave height was calculated as the average of wave heights measured shoreward of the breakwater during a wave condition or.Structure I was built during wave action from the first layer of bags to the last and demonstrated that sandbags could be dropped through waves in a pattern with little dispersion.77) 10 6 d 5. the four generator settings that produced wave heights closest to 4 and 6 feet (1."^ - ^^ . After the successful construction of structure I. measured without a breakwater in the tank. the wave heights shoreward and seaward of the structure were measured visually and electronically to the nearest 0.74) 10 The calibration wave heights. A. the effect of wave action was considered of little importance and subsequent structures were built through still water. Ht. T (s) 6 4.22 and 1. 111.19) (1. replacement of damaged bags and placement of the first layer were accomplished before the tank was refilled with water.1 foot. measured at station 0-46 with a structure in the tank. and were compared with transmitted wave heights.

one for each survey range shown in Figure If comparison of profiles from consec5. the graded sand bed was surveyed. and slumping. The breakwaters were surveyed immediately after completion. wave conditions. wave condition c. and face slopes are described from comparison of the average profiles.01 foot on a 2-foot (0. (12. Surveys . the toes was measured to the nearest grid along and across . were plotted from each survey.7 centimeters) disc on the end of the structure and the sand near 0.considerable wave reflection. an average profile was calculated and plotted from the survey at the beginning of the test and the survey at the end of each wave condition. except for visually observed motion at the top of structures III and IV. measured every 2 feet along the tank on In preparation for construction of structures II. Each test description includes remarks on the breakwater construction. differences in the test procedure. If utive surveys indicated continuing change. A test was terminated when the structure reached stability under wave condition d or. behavior of the bags.61 meter) The sand bed elevation was usually two ranges. the latest profiles were considered the stable profiles for their wave condition and the initial profiles for the next wave condition. The spacing of the survey lines permitted the location of individual bags on the surface of the breakwater and the determination of the processes which caused changes in the structure configuration. only short bursts of waves (usually 10) could be generated at a time. Changes in bag arrangement were of three general types: settlement. causing significant changes in wave height and period seaward of the breakwaters during continuous wave generation. wave conditions. and IV. 8 feet apart. the profile comparison indicated essentially no movement. then after every 1 to 2 hours of wave action during each wave condition. 5). 6. making the last two tests more time consuming and leading to a shorter total duration of each wave condition. but the final determination was based on the surveys. displacement. using a 5-inch-diameter The elevation of a 20-foot sounding rod. To illustrate overall changes in configuration for each test. wave action was continued.the tank (Fig. This aided in preliminary determination of structure stability. and resulting changes in the breakwater configuration. Settlement or consolidation occurred when a 28 . Surveys were conducted from a movable platform. Visual observations of structure movement during wave action were made for tests III and IV when the breakwater crests were exposed. Changes in the structure elevation. crest width. Test Descriptions . 5. in the case of test IV. Seven profiles. Bag movements were observed by comparing successive plots of the seven profiles derived from each survey. To maintain the desired incident and necessitating a change in procedure. III.

2 feet. the tank was drained only between tests. steepening the front slope. and the breakwater. 29 . and further slumping. Test I. flattening both slopes and reducing the crest elevation. Under wave condition a. and 15). action relocated bags. sand covered the seaward face and a bag on the crest shifted seaward. 10-second-period wave condition to test field installation methods.3 feet (0. was noted that the structure had partially trapped water on the back side and that water was leaking under and through the structure (Figs. In contrast to the slight changes in wave conditions. moving them out of their original position in the structure. the draining of the tank or the first hour of additional running after the tank was refilled. Construction The breakwater for test I consisted of 24 bags installed in a 3-2-1. The initial survey after completing construction revealed a uniform structure. 7. After these difficulties.39 meter) lower than expected. Midtest Tank Draining b. The sand removed from the . two bags on the bottom layer appeared to be partially The tank was refilled and wave condition b was continued for emptied. As wave condition b was continued for 3 more hours. as a result of settlement and some bag movement. a bag moved onto the top of the front face and a layer of sand was washed away from the front toe. the tank was drained for inspection. slid down the slope. Both faces settled during wave condition c. .whole face of a structure underwent a reduction in elevation as layers. the shoreward or back slope steepened. and the underlying sand bed were compacted. 13. The bags were dropped into the water during a 3-foot-high. before the draining of the tank. 1. 16). but the transmitted wave height was essentially the same as the incident height. scour occurred at the rear toe while the front slope flattened During and the back slope steepened as much as during wave condition a. Structure I was the only breakwater inspected during the progress of a test. however. It After 2 hours of condition b. Wave and Structure Changes Waves "peaked-up" as they passed over c. resulting in the undermining of higher bag layers. Subsequent another 4 hours to determine if the scour would continue. but the structure height was only 3. Surveys during wave conditions a and b indicated that scour was occurring around the structure (Fig. and the crest elevation decreased. apparently undermined. individual bags. surveys indicated that scour had occurred at the leeward toe. had settled during this stage of draining and wave action. then down a face or away from the structure. the submerged breakwater (Fig. the front slope flattened. The profiles after the additional 4 hours were considered to be the adjusted initial profiles. the entire structure settled. Also. 14. changes in the structure were significant. a. . weakening the area Slumping occurred when all the bags from one area of a face losing bags.37 meters) high above the sand bed. 12).5 feet (1. strengthening Displacement occurred when wave the structure. three-layer system designed to produce a submerged breakwater structure 4. or as torn bags lost sand. During condition b.

o i 1 o -a A c o o a c 1 - c t. c 'O* <t i K ? 1 1 i 1 ^^i 1 Y 1A .1"" ' 1 1 1 m Tffr . 1 _—L. . 1 1 . - 5 ° lie UJ :h O A o ? 1 ? 1 1 % 1 |t^ t CD o o \ ^ g c re i itial — ^A vS^^^ u to c "o (^ •2 J3 o Q. = T3 0) in \M^ \ v\ O O OQ •- \ \V W\ \ \ \ ' ^t. >• "> o o a> o I c o C ~ o 'T irt a> lo 00 lO rin A /J^^ T / /f f f O O E ~- o (O O yj O -o •? 1 / IN a J T3 "S — tion i ^ cons E "o (ot da o c o a." 1- o o E ^ o 1 II I \ \ '1 f _l W 1 o c f EL . J L 1 — (U) uO!J0Aai3 o — 30 .

Figure 13. Backface after midtest tank draining (test I) 31 . Figure 14. Front face after midtest tank draining (test I).

32 . midtest tank draining (test I). Sand bed to seaward.Figure 15.

Figure 16. Wave "peaking up" during wave condition d (test I). 33 .

21). c. Wave condition d caused accretion of sand at the front toe. Structure Changes During wave condition a the top layer of bags was displaced off the structure crest. consequently. flattening the back slope. then spilled shoreward of the structure (Figs. 29 and 34 . and an 8-inch-diameter pipe was installed to drain water from behind the To install the pipe. and the tank was refilled. and a flattening of both slopes despite scour at the rear toe (Fig. resulting in a breakwater 7 feet high. . 25 and 26) and large sand ripples were observed in the sand bed indicating active sand movement (Figs.induced changes in the structure were small compared to the disruption when the tank was drained. Test II. . stayed in place and leaked sand. 27 and 28). remove some bags intact. Waves of condition b peaked-up like those in test I. Wave. .using no change in crest elevation. of the pipe. bags in the backface were displaced off the structure or. and 19) d. the tank was drained Construction a. 22 and 23). Waves of condition c and d peaked-up and plunged as they passed the structure. 17. 18. The front face settled and bags from the crest were displaced onto it.38 meters) behind the structure. if damaged. Although more scour occurred at both toes during wave condition c. an increase in crest width. Test III. and lowering the crest elevation. but ca. After the completion of test I. but some half -buried bags tore when grasped by After installation the crane's bag grip.base of the structure during condition c was moved back during condition forming mounds at both toes of the structure (Figs. flattening the front slope. resulting in a decrease in crest elevation. a. . on the constructed shape of the breakwater. the first layer of bags for strucThe successful ture II was placed (Fig. After completion of test II. 9. 8. Construction After the sand bed was regraded and the torn bags from the second structure were replaced. 20). slightly greater than the incident wave height. construction of structure I through waves indicated that wave action during construction had little affect. the backface slumped and the front face settled. the sand bed was regraded. but the large waves underwent 5 to 10 percent attenuation. spilling sand on the structure. 24). two torn and empty bags were discovered on the crest of the structure (Figs. attempts were made to test structures (Fig. widening the crest. and flattening the front slope. No change in elevation occurred. Waves of condition a plunged over the structure and continued to spill until reformed about 80 feet (24. the first layer of new bags for the third structure was placed before the tank was filled (Figs. but the lower half of the front face settled. Changes during wave condition b were negligible. steepening the front slope slightly. Wave Changes The transmitted wave height for small waves was b. the remaining four layers for structure II were dropped into place through still water.

Front face at end of test I. Figure 18. 35 . Backface at end of test I.Figure 17.

Sand bed to seaward at end of test I. 36 .Figure 19. Relief pipe on sand bed and remains of structure I. Figure 20.

r " T^'X.y Figure 21. First layer of bags (test II) 37 .

Figure 23.Figure 22. Wave approaching breaking during wave condition d (test II). Wave breaking during wave condition d (test II) 38 .

_ Ui — (U)U0!»0A9|3 O — 39 .to f o •o ~— ^ O * T 0> lO oo ir> o 0) c *« *-.* a a> o (0 o lO — o >.

Figure 26. Backface and damaged bags at end of test II.Figure 25. 40 . Damaged bags at end of test II.

-'--«l^ 41 .

Repairs to structure II and first layer of bags for structure III (test III).Figure 29. First layer of bags (test III) 42 . Figure 30.

flattening the slope slightly Changes in the sand bed elevation at the back toe (Figs. a structure 12. changes at the front toe were only about 50 percent as large as changes during tests I and II. 34). different procedures for minimizThe most effective ing wave reflection effects and setup were tried. the seaward row of the top layer of bags was displaced onto condition a. creating. but increased with increasing wave steepness afterward. tion was continued for an additional 1 hour and 50 minutes (1. Waves broke on the seaward edge of the structure's Wave Changes c. bag movement occurred over all of the visible crest and front When waves were face (Fig.Ten more layers o£ bags were dropped through still water to produce 30). run in bursts. to its original height. and bags on the front face continued to settle and undergo small displacements. making visual measurement Wave attenuation decreased abruptly when the of wave height difficult. During the first hour of wave Structure Changes by "Low" Waves d. . 32 and 33). Wave Condition Problems water level. a small amount of bag movement at the seaward edge of the crest. The wave condithe new layer was removed onto the back slope (Fig. slumped. 38. even when another layer The wave setup also increased with was removed during wave condition c. the transmitted waves reformed with the primary period of the incident waves and two or three secondary waves. and 39). 37. wave reflection problems between the generator and the structure on the seaward side and a wave setup condition of 0. Structure Changes by "High" Waves continuously. the pile of bags on the backface wider crest.100 waves) Wave condition b caused with little additional change to the structure. crest. became obvious during wave condition a. 31). run in bursts of 20 (Fig. . tion c flattened the front slope and left the structure with a lower. . top layer of bags was removed by wave action during condition a. widening the crest. steepening both slopes. 36). extensive movement of the bags continued until a new stabilized profile was attained after the top layer of bags was displaced onto the pile of bags on the backface and the bags on the Wave condiupper part of the front face underwent small displacements. during test III were negligible. increasing wave steepness and the crest width widened as the structure lost height.1 feet high above the sand bed with a top layer two rows of bags wide (Fig. .30 meter) on the shoreward side. then. procedure was generating bursts of 10 to 20 waves with 2-minute intervals between bursts.15 to 0. decreasing the crest elevation. 43 . When wave condition c was run e. perhaps contributing to the changes in attenuation. A single row of four bags was used to rebuild the crest of the structure During the next series of 90 waves. 35) until setup behind the breakwater stabilized. the structure effectively blocked the tank.5 As these difficulties to 1 foot (0. during various phases of testing. With the structure crest at the stillb. During wave condition d. the front face and the shoreward row of the top layer was displaced into a pile on the backface. and lowering the crest elevation below the Stillwater line (Figs.

> rt S u (U cd -o C O •H +-> c 3 •H +J 13 w c O (D U O O (D > ^H rt <D +-> S rt 3 bO C ^ H O fH 3 ctf f-i fH <U 5 M S o 44 .




— — —i—r1





= o

O) to












Da D


e St
















^0^ y





J r










Figure 34.

Additional layer after 10 waves, wave condition
(test III).



Figure 35.

Breakwater crest under wave trough during wave condition
(test III).


Figure 36.

Wave breaking on structure during wave condition
(test III).




Figure 37.

Front face at end of test III.


Figure 38.
Backface at end of test III.

^ ^^




Figure 39.

Damaged bags in front face at end of test III.

Figure 40.

First layer of structure IV on front face of structure III
(test IV).


.4 feet above the sand bed and two rows of bags wide [Figs. 45). Construction and Preparation After the tank was drained. but did During the first burst not change the height or front slope significantly. three bags from the remaining row on the crest of waves of condition c. were displaced onto the backface. reacting like balloons when stepped on. Then. During the first 60 waves of condition a. decreasing the crest elevation. the tank was filled and bags were dropped through still water 40).5-minute wait between bursts. Since the bags in the earlier tests appeared to change shape when wetted. 48).5 feet. II. slowly sliding down the face. 1. wave overtopping. the damage starting in the third layer from the top and progressing upward to the top seaward row of bags (Fig.10.02 meters) of water. Structure Changes c. In test IV. a layer a. The front slope flattened dramatically and the crest lost 38 Wave condition percent of its width but little of its height (Fig. . As the wave condition was continued. many bags were dislodged from the front face of structure IV. After the 60th wave.2 feet (4. After every four bursts. 46). The wet bags had trapped air. the whole upper half of the front face began slumping toward the toe and the bags remaining on the top of the structure began moving shoreward. a 30-minute waiting The waves period was required to equalize the water level in the tank. The crest was 16. of bags was dry-placed on the front face of the previous structure (Fig. waves were run in bursts of 10 with a Wave Changes 1.2 feet (0. the seaward row of bags in the upper part of the front face (i.36 meter) deeper than the usual test condition. b moved scattered bags on the front face downslope about 1 foot. All bags visible above water appeared to be moving. During wave condition c. 43 and the reason wave attenuation decreased as wave damage lowered the crest 44) elevation. 49 . . The slope of the upper half of the front face conWave tinued to flatten as the crest elevation continued to decrease.e. bags on the front face began moving with the wave action. shoreward of the breakwater were primarily the result of intermittent overtopping from the waves breaking against the front face (Figs. the transmitted waves in test IV differed from the incident waves in both form and period. from the crest to 3 feet below the Stillwater level) slumped to the lower part of the face (Fig. to form structure IV. before the initial survey the new structure was subjected to "shakedown" waves of about 2-foot height and 12. to saturate and consolidate the part of the breakwater above the Stillwater line. An unrecorded number of shakedown waves were run. and III which maintained the incident period after passing or breaking over the submerged structures. Visible settlement occurred in the front face above the Stillwater level and one bag in the front face was moved out of place.8-second period in 13. 47). after the crest had been damaged. overtopping waves increased the water level shoreward of the breakwater by 1. . Test IV . After 440 waves. soaking the seaward face of the structure with little. b. if any. leaving the shoreward row on the crest almost untouched (Fig. Unlike the waves in tests I. 41 and 42). .

Figure 42.Figure 41. Front face before wave action (test IV). Backface before wave action (test IV). 50 .

Breaking wave overtopping after loss of seaward row of bags on breakwater crest during wave condition a (test IV) .. Wave breaking on front face after loss of seaward row of bags on breakwater crest during wave condition a (test IV) Figure 44. Figure 43.

a 52 .Figure 45. Front face slumping after 30 waves during wave condition (test IV).

Backface after 50 waves shows shoreward row of bags across (test IV) crest intact during wave condition a 53 . Front face after 50 waves shows seaward row of bags missing (test IV). from breakwater crest during wave condition a Figure 47. Figure 46..

(U) U0JJDA9I3 54 .

placed during wave condition a. The crest of structure III lost bags and broadened during wave conditions The front slope steepening the back slope in the process. 55 . tests I and II. 12. Torn bags found in structures I and II were suspected of having been ripped on the ends of the pipe sections (Fig. Damaged bags were found in every structure. all four of the structures lost a. weather the stockpiled. but when the tank was drained at the end of the test. then the back slope flattened more than the front slope. IV. conditions a and c produced the most significant damage. Most changes in the from the crests of the structures to the sand bed. formed cushioning bubbles on the tops and side. then the back slope flattened and the front slope steepened during wave conditions Although the crest of structure II broadened as bags were disc and d.filled bags froze solid at night. which added buoyancy to the bags. and III had shown that wave and 50). . however. and prevented adequate interlocking despite the carefully overlapped layers. II. b. and 48). the structure was not surveyed in test IV. implying that the bags were torn during placeUndamaged bags included even those bags that were displaced suddenly ment. structure IV The sand bed beyond the toes of was not subjected to wave condition d. The crane clam was equipped with a bag grip made of two short sections of steel pipe bolted to the jaws (Fig. 24. ANALYSIS Bag Problems . slippery and trapped air. 1. The overall crest elevation during the tests (Figs. Both damaged and undamaged bags displayed forms of instability under wave action. Configuration Changes In general. 53 and 54). 52). The sections were extended and pipe elbows were welded to the ends to In cold protect and give additional support to the bags (Figs. the structure was symmetric until wave condition c. Sand was "sucked out" of torn bags until the bags were nearly Evidently. The method of placing bags successfully produced the planned structure when the correct underwater dimensions of the bags were known and the bagdropping equipment was positioned according to a placement diagram. a. usually lying in the installed position. handling the bags during placement was a problem. sand. and c. The nylon material was structures were due to movement of undamaged bags. plastic placed over the stockpile at night and warmed by a small kerosene heater succeeded in keeping the bags pliable enough to be gripped without further damage by the modified clam jaws. this loss of sand contributed to the settlement during empty. 49 As experience during tests I. 51). symmetric until damaged during the midtest draining of the tank. Structure I was changes in configuration differed among the structures. only slight changes in the sand bed were observed.condition c was terminated when all visible movement stopped (Figs. 2. Structure Stability . making the A tent of black bags difficult to grip and more susceptible to tearing. 33.

Front face at end o£ test IV.--i*aiiK ^"^ ^*«*^. ^ Figure 49. Figure 50.^^. 56 . Backface at end of test IV.

57 .

_iJ'J»iS»&yiif / Figure 53. 58 . Figure 54. Improved bag-grip design picking up bag. Improved bag-grip design holding bag.

Breakwater heights. the backface and the front face of a breakwater would have to Also. the average crest elevation is more responsive to changes in the crest width and face slopes and. crest elevations. and the crest elevation. the backface slope was not measured. the lower part of the backfaces of structures III and IV was the stabilized remains of structures II and III. is assumed that the structure would be completed before any part of the structure had time to stabilize. Interaction with Waves. crest widths. but the back slope changed only slightly.Lated as follows: Condition Height .9 5.eij calcu. In field construction.74) b c 10 6 0.7 (1. hence. The average elevation of the crest area is used for the analysis of structure configuration changes in this study. T Dimensionless steepness H^/gT^ 0. therefore. From the incident wave height and period.steepened during wave condition a. and Listed in the table for each average profile are the structure height.8 5. more representative of the crest configuration.0 3. If the entire face was too curved or irregular to fit a straight line. resulting in a narrowed crest width. The crest width was measured 1 foot below the highest point on the crest. the slope of the upper two-thirds of the face was measured. the effect of wave impact on the front-face slope was the primary emphasis.00121 a 4. 48. In addition.22) (1. c Methods of Measurement b.77) (1. The front slope of structure IV flattened radically. Compared to the highest point elevation. The front-face slope is plotted in Figure 55 as a function of the corresponding crest elevation and the ratio of that elevation to the water depth. respectively. The front-face slope for each average profile was difficult to measure since the plot of the face was usually curved.19) (1. Although qualitative changes in the backface were noted. providing a stable base for the upper part and keeping the backfaces intact except for bags displaced onto the faces from the crest. c. defined as the "highest point" from the average profile. the slope of the backface was not measured. it be carefully designed and constructed to withstand wave attack. Hi (ft) (m) - Period. defined as the "average" of elevations across the width of the average profile's crest. In tests on the structures of maximum effectiveness and major interest (structures III and IV). (s) 6 .00177 d 10 59 . . 33.00345 0. 24. at approximately the base of the top layer of bags.00500 0. dent wave steepness has be. less care was taken to construct the backface to conform to the design slope. and front-face slopes in Table 4 were measured from the average profiles of each breakwater structure in Figures 12. Since the backfaces of the four structures did not consistently represent prototype conditions. then flattened during wave conditions and d.

66 1.690 10 11.6 Tank drained and refilled 3 2.2 1.0 0. Changes in the configuration of s indbag breakwaters under wave ac tion.2 on 4.92 2.1 4.1 3.2 2.36 12.1 8.38 10.0 4.9 3.4 d 5.540 10 0.80 1 on 4.77 6 1.6 2.150 3 2.67 7.5 3.88 0.22 6 1.8 1.16 1 on 3.00 2.2 b 3.2 0.5 0.30 1 on 3.75 1 on 2.400 S 5.92 1 10.3 1.6 0.29 1 on 4.9 0.26 1 on 2.88 2.34 23.7 8.6 1 Test III 11 12.0 2.9 4.2 c 5.5 c 5.58 4.23 2.82 1.32 0.8 3.02 7.4 b 3.9 1.10 1.4 b 3.74 12. 1 0.9 1.77 2.0 7.88 0.79 2. 60 .70 252 15 15.0 c 5.0 1.050 3 0.58 2.0 1.50 1 on 4.1 7.74 10 2. NOTE: Slope and elevation are measured from average profiles.2 7.0 0.29 7.550 5 O.2 4.22 6 1.4.75 1.00 16.7 1.2 al 4.9 0.0 2.08 0.0 4.S8 13.32 10.19 10 2.13 1 on 2. of crest area (ft) 1 Change in avg.2 0.68 1 on 3.82 0.77 5.03 8.2 1.8 1.7 2.70 0.06 7.8 1.Table 4.74 10 1.13 6.21 26.80 5.9 1. Wave condition Duration Bag layers Structure height Crest elevation Crest width Seaward.08 1 on 2.IS 13.2 1 Test IV 15 a 16.0 d 5.29 0.88 15.69 12.8 1.9 1.1 4. of (ft) (m) Avg.5 3.44 10. (ft) 1 (m) (m) (ft) (m) Test 3 a I 1 3.32 1 on 2.0 4.5 3.15 690 10 0.7 1.25 450 5 5.77 6- 3.18 1 on 2.21 1 on 3.44 1 on 4.91 15.4 b 3.92 3.7 1.9 3.16 1 on 4.52 9.9 1.5 0.6 a 4.2 3.5 11.33 on 5.0 1.38 10.8 1.8 3.62 5. 51 14.4 2.7 24.23 444 10 11.74 3.3 \After loss of top layer of bags.8 4.77 Test II 2.8 1 6 a 7.62 1 16.1 14.2 4.4 4.03 7.00 720 3 0.face slope Hi (ft) T (s) (h) No.0 1.3 3.1 2.8 . 1 3.9 4.03 8.4 5.4 7.6 10.7 1.85 on 4.44 1 on 3.65 1 on 4.0 3.0 0.9 3.50 900 3 2.22 6 2.7 5.20 720 15 0.75 1 on 2.3 0.77 6 4.20 9.1 3.1 2.53 552 5 5.85 1.74 1 14.9 2.000 14 0.8 d 5.3 1.0 1.2 0.67 2.79 2.74 10 1.6 2.3 2.19 10 1.03 25.4 c 5.77 6 5.22 6 1.98 2.06 25.22 6 4.62 5.7 1.6 0.1 13.19 10 1.2 4.22 438 10 0.3 0.67 1. 19 10 0.2 7.7 0.

— c Wave (s) v Structure ^0 O t£) O L m> (^ O "5 o <J c c o o after Period o c: on c a c • -6 T3 O OO c o o o o C O '^ - . _ O 3 ^ y y ^ < 5 — tt] o (ft) > c o o c ^ Conditio O ^ CT> 00 1^ ro in lO. Hj 1 1 HI O i o.— tt) 3 .- c II d <J 1 1 Structure J/ ^ ~"'-\ Y"* I 1 1 Structure -•o lO ad0|S luojj 61 .

06 meter). the changes increasing with the increase in the constructed heights of the breakwaters. structure IV' s wide crest. For each breakwater. when the top layers of bags were displaced off the crests of structures and down the faces. 55). d. approximately 4 feet above the water surface. on the crests of structures II and III and near the Stillwater level on the front face of structure IV. respectively) and gained crest width as the top layers were displaced In contrast.2 to 1 on 5. . During tests III and IV. largest crest elevation and width changes were caused by the two steepest wave conditions. the type of slope change. II. Sources of Change Compared to consolidation of sandbags and settlement into the sand bed. flattening or steepening. emergent sandbag breakwater. and crest width changes were correspondingly small. from 1 on 4. bag movement Was primarily responsible for the changes in the breakwater profiles. and III decreased most and crest widths for structures II. and III changed most during wave condition c. with resulting large changes in crest elevation and width. For the emergent structure IV. Structure I lost only 0. tank depth. wave condition when the accumulation of setup appeared to stop c. Large crest elevation changes also occurred during wave condition c.Crest elevations for structures I. the first waves caused settlebut maintained its elevation. ment and bag movement in the loosely constructed breakwaters. whereas structure IV lost 1. The respectively. A crest width of two bags was inadequate to prevent displacement of the entire crest layer during the steepest wave conditions. along with the other The maximum elevation changes from wave two-thirds of the original crest. wave conditions a and c also produced the largest amounts of wave setup. Bag movement and resulting changes in structure configuration were most extensive during the steepest wave conditions a and c. lost one-third of its width As expected.7 feet (0. bag movement. and IV changed most during wave conStructure II with a crest submerged nearly 50 percent of the dition a. II. varied with the wave conditions. but a given wave condition did not cause the same type of change in all four breakwaters. but the effect on bag stability was generally undetermined. The only change clearly attributable to wave setup occurred during test III. The largest changes occurred during wave conditions a and c. shoreward of the structures. conditions b and d were only 0.1 and 0. down the faces of the structures.2. the slope During wave condition c.2 feet of height (17 and 9 percent of constructed height. The slopes of the submerged structures I. or water level increase. lost approximately 1. The front-face slopes of the breakwaters did not change uniformly during the tests (Fig. III. and structure III with a crest at the Stillwater level. the steepest conditions.03 meter) or 3 percent of constructed crest elevation.2 foot (0. 62 . is particularly vulnerable to severe damage from wave attack.3. The seaward face of an flattened further. Bag movement was concentrated in the area of strongest wave activity.52 meter) or 11 percent of constructed crest elevation.1 foot (0. the slope flattening from 1 on 3 to 1 on 4.03 and 0. slumping during wave condition a caused the largest slope change. especially the area near the Stillwater level.

lowering the crest elevation 0. reducing the elevation in the area by 1. The sand elevation changes during each wave condition were about 0. Since erosion and 0. torn bags were discovered in the structure.08 meter) or less for tests III and IV. the crest must be wide enough to prevent loss of the entire crest layer of bags. ture . Attempts to estimate the amount of settlement into the sand bed were hampered by changes in the elevation of the sand bed near the structures. the front slope is more critical than the crest width. The configuration of each structure at the end of a test was the most stable configuration for a sandbag breakwater in water 12 feet deep and subject to the range of wave conditions used for testing.5 feet. Scour in and around structure I during the damaging midtest tank draining caused appreciable settlement into the sand bed. 1. despite the disruption of the bag Strucarrangement by the midtest tank draining and subsequent wave action. Sandbags alone are an unstable structural material when used in a wave environment. Comparison of the surveys showed that the bags probably leaked until empty during the steepest wave condition.3 foot of this occurred during the midtest tank draining and the following 4 hours of wave action). Such an area was found when the surveys of structure II were inspected after emptied.3 foot or 10 percent of constructed crest elevation. and IV. the reduction in elevation from the constructed configuration to the final configuration (and the change as a percentage of the constructed crest elevation) was 0.64 meter) or 18 percent for structure III. The crest of structure I remained about one row of bags wide. 2.5 foot for tests I and II.7 foot (0. Significant bag leakage also occurred in structure I. the total change in the configuration of a sandbag breakwater before reaching stability is an important design consideration. and accretion alternated as the wave conditions were changed.1 feet (0.8 feet (0. To ensure that a submerged breakwater constructed in the field will maintain a stable crest elevation. consequently. .1 feet of change was due to loss of a bag layer. 1.11 lost bags from the single row across its crest until the remaining Bags bags formed a crest approximately 14 feet or two rows of bags wide. The average profiles indicate that wave conditions a and c caused erosion. and For structures II. Noting the initial and final crest elevations (Table 4).7 feet or 25 percent for structure II.55 meter) or 11 percent for structure IV. Final Structure Configurations e. 1. For emergent breakwaters. 63 . III. the total amount of scour was small except at the rear toes of structures I and II.25 foot (0. but the effects could not be isolated. lost from the crest of structure III. originally two rows of bags wide. Any settlement that occurred did not exceed the change of sand elevation due to sand movement near the toes. and wave conditions b and d caused accretion at the toes of the structures. Sand levels against the bottom layer of bags at both toes at the beginning and end of each test were compared using corresponding photos and surveys.The magnitude of other sources of configuration changes could not be measured except in rare instances when an area in a breakwater changed elevation with no apparent bag movement.21 meter) or 24 percent for structure I (0.

5 or flatter. conclusions can be drawn from the data. and attenuation.6.74 meters) or one row of bags due to the extensive slumping of the The constructed crest width required to prevent bag movement front face. cannot be determined from these test results.2 slopes needed to minimize change. between the final slopes of 1 on 4. When plotted as funcwave condition in each test are given in Table 5. therefore. was 1 on 4.3 for structure IV. measured during wave condition b before the tank was drained. the final on changes in structures II and III during wave condition d.2 in test III. and 1 on 3 to 1 on 5. in those three tests might have been minimized by building the initial front slope at 1 on 5. widening it to 26 feet (7. the flatter the final slope.8 in test 1. about the width of four rows of bags. ture crest near the Stillwater level. indicative of the design The front slope changed from 1 on 4.6 to 1 on The final slope for 4. the designer must know the relationships of the design height and crest width of the structure to the wave attenuation by the breakwater and to the wave damage to the strucAlthough the definition of these relationships was a goal of the ture.2 for structure Slope changes by the wave conditions III and 1 on 5. test IV is not completely comparable to the final slopes from the other Based tests since structure IV was not subjected to wave condition d. and the instability of the individual bags ensure that some change in the slope will occur as a result of wave action immediately after construction. 3.piled up at the back edge of the crest. H^/H^. A. as in the case of structure 111. the tested combinations of structure height and crest width were insufficient to isolate the effects of crest width changes from Only general the effects of structure height and wave property changes.3 in test IV. questionable. the result of the different forces on an emergent breakwater. but the large amount of slumping on structure IV compared to the other structures. the final crest width was only 9 feet (2. widening the constructed crest will not prevent displacement of the seaward row of bags onto the front face. To determine the breakwater design configuration which will be adequate to provide a required degree of wave protection. The flattest slope the higher the breakwater.92 Although structure IV meters). testing program. The total changes in the front-face slopes of the test structures (Fig. slope of structure IV would be 1 on 5. tions of the crest elevation at the beginning of the wave condition and 64 . Experience in construction of test breakwaters has shown that achieving a design slope for a structure built in overlapping layers by dropping The m. to 1 on 2. makes such an estimate Neglecting test I and the effects of midtest tank draining. when compared with the final slopes. a minimum crest width of three bag rows is recommended. 1 on 2. Wave Transmission . 1 on 3.2 to 1 on 2. 55) are. lost both rows of bags from its crest. but for submerged breakwaters For a structhe width should increase with increased structure height. for each The transmission coefficient.6 in test II. from structure I.ethod of bag placement bags through water is extremely difficult.

0 1.0 0.22 4.bre akwaters Period (s) Crest width (ft) (m) Wave condition »i (ft)| (m) H* (ft)| (m) Ht/Hi A (ft) Wave setup (m) 1 1 (-) Test 2.50 Tank drained and refilled 2.30 10.53 0.9 4.21 a 6 4.82 7.6 0.72 1.2 1.2 0.77 1.74 12.91 0.2 4.6 0.8 1.74 5.34 1.2 7.74 3.3 3.02 Negligible 2.7 4.77 0.70 8.0 2.58 * 13.74 ^After loss of top layer of bags.44 c 6 5.76 0.0 1.8 1.9 1.75 b 10 3.26 d 10 5.10 None 5.1 2.19 4.5 0.58 13.27 0.1 0.08 26.75 c 6 5.2 1.77 5.9 1.2 0.66 4.0 1.88 13.68 0.29 24.3 1.13 a 6 4.67 7.32 Test II 1 6.22 1.7 1.3 3.9 4.0 0.7 1.44 0.0 4.1 0.0 1.05 Negligible 5.16 a' 6 4.5 0.50 0.77 2.8 3.8 1.29 b 10 3.19 0.22 0.00 None 2.77 5.8 1.9 3.9 1.67 7.28 0.30 10.50 0.44 c 6 5.0 0.34 0.9 2.0 0.74 5.56 0.5 0.85 8.16 a 6 4.1 0.18 10.9 1.Table Crest elevation (ft) 1 5.02 25.47 0.09 15.6 0.9 3.8 1.00 or 2.67 0.3 0.08 Test III 14.5 7.9 I 0.29 25.8 1.8 4.4 7. 65 .57 1.68 b 10 3.22 4.I to 0.6 7.92 0.33 9.2 0.95 O.19 2.0 1.2 0.06 0.18 d 10 5.92 d 10 5.02 -0.7 1.0 3.85 8.0 2.62 b 10 3.12 0.3 0.2 0.9 1.0 1.09 5.2 2.19 3.95 0.10 -0.19 1.0 7.1 1 12.10 or 5.2 1.18 9.5 2.46 14.03 to 0.9 1.32 23.02 -0.22 1.43 0.7 2.30 a 6 4.4 1.65 c 6 5.58 0.80 Test IV 1 16.9 0.9 0.7 0.05 0.03 15.31 1.10 -0.7 1.8 3.6 2.7 1.80 1.02 2.6 2.4 0.61 0.10 7.74 12. Wave transmission by sandbag .79 8.88 7.1 3.22 2.4 2.15 10.0 2.5 1.4 4.

1. When bags were immersed and undisturbed by other bags landing on top of them.629 pounds before immersion and 1. or broke in a complex manner over a distance shoreward of the breakwater. especially when frozen. the data points follow the two curves in Figure 56. wave steepness. is larger than the incident wave height over segments of both curves. were weighed to determine the effects of air trapment. they retained an air pocket that slowly leaked until.19 meters) bounds of the data. After release of trapped air. structure III.77 and 1. perhaps due The to the scarcity of data or to wave reflection and setup effects. uncoated nylon bag exposed to direct sunlight for 18 months tore open. but this effect is reversed as the crest elevation The transmitted wave height approaches or exceeds the Stillwater level. however.9-foot (1. closing filled bags.and 5.8. the crest elevation to water depth ratio of a submerged sandbag breakwater must be greater than 0. The data are sufficient to conclude that an effective sandbag breakwater producing significant changes in wave height will be susceptible to damaging amounts of bag movement and must be designed and constructed carefully to maintain a stable configuration. after 17 hours. Of the three submerged breakwaters. 2. approximately the upper and lower Data for the 4.22 and 1. Sandbag Dimensions and Weights The nylon bags measured 8 by 5 feet when empty and 7 by 4 by 1. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS . with its crest in the severe wave action region. and handling filled bags. no relationships based on crest width. A single sand-filled.74 meters) wave heights of wave conditions to be grouped together along the curves.and 3. other problems encountered during testing were actinic deterioration.7-foot appeared c and d (1.70. requiring the crest to be at a depth where wave forces are most severe. curves show that submerged breakwaters attenuate the high waves more than the low waves. individual bags weighed as much as 325 pounds more than their weight when first immersed and 85 pounds (39 kilograms) more than their immersed weight with a stable air volume immediately before puncture. Sandbag Problems and Improvements . reach the stable state increased with increasing material weight or weave When six bags "tightness" and decreased with increasing immersion depth. Besides buoyancy from trapped air. To effect more than 30-percent attenuation in wave height. Since the time of 66 . underwent the largest changes in crest elevation and crest width. wave heights of wave conditions a and b and for the 5.1 feet when filled with damp sand to 75 percent of capacity. V. or wavelength were apparent. most prominently for wave conditions a and b in the region of data from The negative attenuation occurred for waves which did not break test II. the average weight was 2.488 pounds while immersed after puncture to release all trapped air.the ratio of that crest elevation to the water depth. a stable The time required to air volume was reached before all air had escaped.

tr ^ £ 'a> OO OT3 C C C 1} jr CT I 0) \ \ / / X <U > cJ \ V \ 1 (U ^^ 1 D D 5 5 -c a> .^ </> / / f ID / / / 1 -QTJ TOT) ^ 3 oO D O 3 C C J= O in in ~^ - S \ / / c c r.5 O X XJ -^ 1 E to c ^- ^ T-E 1 o 2 X X <c 1 XX o — 67 .' / / / / / / / / / / _J y 1 / 1 / (A // / / y ^^„0^^ ^^^00'^ ""^ X /y / / ^ ^ ^^ * ^ / y ^ 2r 00 / / • 'oj o o 3 0) c o o > <u / / / f UJ .

built in still water after the correct submerged bag size was known. CONCLUSIONS Sandbag Performance . to allow the escape of air or water from submerged or hydraulically filled bags. the front face slumped causing loss of both top rows of bags on the crest. were successfully planned and constructed to the design configuration. Since the tests. The nylon material was slippery and filled bags were rounded. and can be provided with sewn-in lifting straps if The coarse material is more permeable the bags must be dropped into place. but an overestimate of the dimensions of submerged bags had been used for the design. The structure was lower than expected. smooth. some bags allows filling hydraulically while lying flat. Dispersion of the bags under wave action was determined to be so minor that additional experimental construction under wave action was considered unnecessary. The last two structures. preventing adequate interlocking despite the overlapped arrangement of the bags in the structure. sharp edges solved handling problems during the last two breakwater tests.the test. consolidation of the bags. The torn bags lost most of their tore when the bucket tried to grip them. Changes in structure configuration due to bag movement. Bag movement was concentrated near the crests of the submerged structures and in the front face of the emergent structure where wave action was most severe. 1. structure IV with a constructed crest elevation about 4 feet above the Stillwater level. but bag movement produced overall changes of such magnitude that the other effects could not be accurately measured. bags were filled light. During testing of the emergent breakwater. Although sand 68 . bags have been equipped with a self-sealing opening which During placement. Using modified clamshell jaws with no sand filling under wave action. VI. Bags are now being made of heavier but more coarsely woven material with increased strength. commercially marketed bags have been manufactured of nylon coated with various plastics in an effort to reduce damage from exposure to sunDuring construction of the four test breakwaters. in an upright position. during the steepest wave condition. and sometimes cushioned by trapped air during the first period of wave attack. then sewn closed. The earliest wave attack removed the top layer of bags from the two highest submerged breakwaters--structure II with a crest submerged at roughly 50 percent of the tank depth and structure III with a crest elevation close to the Stillwater level. a time-consuming operation. Additional bag movement further lowered and widened the crests by removing more bags from structure II and by moving bags in structure III into a pile at the back of the crest. The most extensive bag movement occurred during conditions of first wave attack before the loosely placed bags consolidated and. and settlement into the sand bed were expected. after consolidation. Dropping bags into place through the water in a planned pattern during wave action produced an orderly structure.

there was little movement of the original bags at the toes. the low wave data for structure II and occurred to a minor extent in the high wave data for structure I. distinctly measurable scouring occurred when the tank was drained during testing of structure I and water trapped on the shoreward side of the structure drained out under it.3.. excluding the lowest breakwater. as the constructed height of the breakwaters was increased. structure I. Breakwater Performance .1 feet structures. and seawardface slope constructed and produced during testing were inadequate to fully evaluate the effects of configuration on attenuation. Design Considerations . high in 12 feet of water. The final configurations of the most effective breakwaters. b and one through the high wave data of wave conditions c and d In general.74 meters) wide while losing 1. was 10.13 to 3.7 and 2. structures III and IV. one through the low wave data of wave conditions a and (Fig. structures III and IV. The increased with structure height for the three submerged breakwaters.27 to 2. Only the breakwaters with crests above or slightly below the Stillwater level. For some submerged crest elevations the transmitted wave height was greater This negative attenuation was prominent in than the incident wave height. originally 12.8 feet of elevation or 11 percent of the constructed crest elevation. are guides to proper design practices producing stable sandbag At the end of testing. 69 . levels against the toes of the structures fluctuated as the wave conditions were changed. crest width. wavelength. None of the breakwaters maintained the constructed configuration under the first wave condition. but they also sustained the most severe wave damage. the relationship between crest elevation and attenuation was described by only two curves. The combinations of breakwater elevation. During testing under four different wave conditions. crests of structures II and III lost 1. 3. and wave steepness were expected to affect wave attenuation. produced wave attenuation greater than 30 percent. The only significant.96 meters) and from 14 to 26 feet In contrast. Excluding the lowest structure. respectively (25 and 18 percent of the respective constructed crest elevations) and widened from 7 to 13 feet (2.1 feet of elevation. while the submerged structures had the opposite effect. Although crest width.2 and a crest width of 26 feet. the slopes flattened. The largest changes in configuration occurred during the first wave condition and the steepest wave condition. structure III. a result of the unstable performance of the bags. the high waves. the emergent structure attenuated the low waves more than 56). from 14 to 9 feet (4. 2. the crest elevations of the four structures decreased and.5 feet (3. The largest slope change for structure IV The change in crest elevation and widthi was from 1 on 3 to 1 on 5. the emergent crest of structure IV narrowed respectively.20 meters) high with a front For similar depth and wave slope of 1 on 4. the total change in the front-face slope was larger and the final slope was flatter.

conditions. In comparison. permanently submerged breakwater would require a crest width of at least 21 feet (6. An emergent breakwater in similar depth and wave conditions would require a crest at least 14 feet. 70 . The crest would have to be at least 21 feet wide and the seaward slope could be no steeper than 1 on 5. or two rows of bags wide and a front slope no steeper than 1 on 5. a stable. The configurations mentioned above could be unstable on most open coasts where wave conditions are more severe than those used in the tests.3 and a crest width of 9 feet. If tidal changes alternately exposed and submerged the crest of a sandbag breakwater.5.51 meters) high at the end with a front slope of 1 on 5.4 feet (5 meters) high in 12 feet of water at the beginning of the test.5.8 feet (4. both the crest width and seaward-face slope would have to be chosen to withstand maximum wave impact. Wave conditions higher than 6 feet (1. was 14. or three rows of bags and a seaward slope no steeper than 1 on 5. Structure IV. rubble breakwaters built in similar water depths to control beach erosion and able to withstand wave heights greater than 6 feet have crest widths of 12 to 15 feet and seaward slopes as steep as 1 on 1.83 meters) could require additional increase in the breakwater's cross section.5. 16.40 meters).

D. U.. BIBLIOGRAPHY ALLIED CHEMICAL CORPORATION. ARMY ENGINEER DISTRICT. H.D. Apr." Wilmington. G. "General Design Memorandum. "A New Material for Ocean Front Construction. pp. MACHEMEHL. 3-10.. GEE. "Sand-filled Nylon Bag Groins. Brunswick County.. W.... and ABAD. 1969. pp.S.L. Hurricane-Wave Protection and Beach Erosion Control. 111. Yaupon Beach and Long Beach Segments.. Vol. 37. W. No. MARKS. 42.C. 11-17." Shore and Beach. 72-73. 71 . J. Inc. 1974. No. "Michigan's Demonstration Erosion Control Program Evaluation Report. "Help Yourself.? Demonstration Erosion Control Program. "Pertinent Information.." Michigan Department of Natural Resources.Phase I. 425. 2. (undated). ARMY ENGINEER DISTRICT. J.." 2d ed. "Roxac Caprolan Nylon Bulk Bags.S. Vol. U. No. pp. and CLINTON. Caprolan Bags Installation at Point O'Woods. NEW YORK. Control. ARMY ENGINEER DIVISION. 2. N.A. U." New York. F. NORTH CENTRAL. and BUMGARNER.Y. 1974.. Lansing. West Palm Beach. WILMINGTON. Vol. Oct. Fla. 161-162. pp. .A. July 1973..." Shore and Beach. 65.. Dec.L. "A Mini Project for Avon Harbor.C.." Erosion 1969. Nov. F.C. N. and CLINTON. Chicago. Oct.." The Military Engineer. Mich. N. May-June 1973. MACHEMEHL. 51-52. 1974. "Michigan'.C. North Carolina. 1967. Vol. Beach Projects. No.N. 42. J.S." Shore and Beach. pp.. 1. MARKS.


December 1966 Beach Haven. CERC left all Information monitoring to the local U. but CERC has no information on completed structures on the west coast. 1967 and. James Andrews residence on north shore. North Carolina. Revetment on face of eroded dune scarp. Florida Underwater breakwater protecting residences.APPENDIX EXAMPLES OF NYLON SANDBAG SHORE PROTECTION STRUCTURES IN THE UNITED STATES The following is a partial list of shore protection projects using nylon sandbags taken from information available at the Coastal Engineering Research Center (CERC]. North Carolina. Florida. 1967 Sarasota. 73 . for structures built after 1967 was taken from the sources in the bibliography. south shore of Fire Island. naval facility at Buxton. Point 0' Woods. New York. Wall built seaward of scarp and back-filled. North Carolina Row of bags on beach face protecting commercial buildings. New York. Revetment at base of eroding bluff. and at the naval facilities at Cape Hatteras. New Jersey artificial dunes in front of historic church. January to February 1967 February 1967 Cape Hatteras. Rhode Island. Circa September 1967 Yaupon Beach. as the number of new structures increased rapidly. and collected brief descriptions of other proCommercial firms were established to sell the bags in jects until 1968.S. One company has been marketing nylon bags in California. Revetment on face of Cape May Point. New Jersey Groin and wall between bag groin and timber groins. Installation date September 1966 Location Description September to October 1966 Nantucket Island. Long Beach Island. Wall two rows of bags high protecting residences. Sheraton Sand Castle July to October 1967 Hillsboro Beach. CERC monitored the performance of sandbag revetments on Fire Island. Long Island. Army Engineer District Offices.

Sixteen groins of hydraulically filled white-coated bags. Florida. North Carolina Fifteen groins of hydraulically filled white-coated bags. National Seashore Miami. July to September 1972 Holden Beach. 74 . Early 1973 Long Beach.Installation date 1968 1968 Location Boynton Inlet. Florida Circa 1971 Satellite Beach. Sheraton Sand Castle 1969 Miami Beach. Lido Harbor South 1968 Revetment on face of dunes. Mid-1973 Yaupon Beach. Florida Groins of hydraulically filled bags. Florida. Ocean House. North Carolina. east end of beach. Carrilon Hotel Sarasota. Florida Description North Boynton. North Carolina. west end of beach. 1969 1969 Dunedin Beach. Florida. Florida Cape Hatteras. North Carolina. July 1971. Florida Groin of black-coated bags. Florida. Corinthian Apartments Boynton Inlet. Florida. Fifteen groins of hydraulically filled white-coated bags. 1969 1969 1969 Sarasota. 1968 Manalapan.

Demonstration revetments and groins protecting Stateowned property. North Carolina Description Two jetties of hydraulically filled white-coated bass. was coated with black acrylic resin or white polyvinyl chloride to retard deterioration and the bags were manufactured with a self-sealing opening CERC which allowed them to be filled in place by pumping sand into them. Later. Michigan. and Superior. bags were made of uncoated nylon and filled from a hopper. the nylon material sewn closed. Late 1973 Shores of Michigan on Lakes Huron. Originally. then dropped or dumped into place. bags filled hydraulically. 75 .Installation date 1973 Location Avon Harbor. has no more information than that listed for projects built between 1968 and 1970.


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