Keynote speakers

Prof. Heidi Nepf

Donald and Martha Harleman Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering; MacVicar Faculty Fellow Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Title: "Physical modelling of coastal vegetation to improve green infrastructure design" 

Prof. Heidi Nepf leads a lab at MIT, where she studies the interaction of waves and current with aquatic vegetation and the feedbacks to sediment transport. She and her group develop models for physical processes that determine how vegetated habitats (green infrastructure), such as seagrasses, salt marsh, and mangroves, provide coastal protection, mitigate anthropogenic nutrient loads, and provide blue carbon reservoirs.

In her keynote, Prof. Nepf will discuss recent advances in physical modelling that describe the interaction of flexible vegetation with waves. New scaling laws, which describe the influence of plant motion (reconfiguration) on the hydrodynamic drag of individual plants, are used as the basis for predicting wave dissipation over a meadow of plants. The models can be used to evaluate the role of vegetation in coastal protection and aid in the design of restoration. 

Prof. Josep R. Medina

Director of the Laboratory of Ports and Coasts of the Universitat Politècnica de València in Spain.

Title: "Breakwaters in a living environment"

Prof. Josep R. Medina has been the director of the Laboratory of Ports and Coasts of the Universitat Politècnica de València in Spain for the last three decades. His research activity has been focused on the physical modelling of breakwaters, wave climate, littoral processes, and intelligent systems applied to a variety of engineering problems. He and his group have led product-oriented and applied research with several patents corresponding to armor units, anti-reflective caissons, and others.

In his keynote, Prof. Medina will discuss the relevance of breakwaters in economic development as well as the environmental impacts and challenges of breakwater design in the 21st century. The dismantling or rehabilitation of many breakwaters in developed countries and the construction of new ones have to be adapted to the principles of sustainability and resilience. Any rehabilitation or new breakwater design will face climate change which affects the coastal environment and also questions the statistical methods widely used for the design of breakwaters in the 20th century.  


Emiel Boerma1 and Coen Kuiper2

1 - Hydraulic Engineering | Systems Engineering | Water Safety | Building with Nature | RWS

2- Coastal and hydraulic engineering specialist,  Witteveen+Bos | Levvel

Title: The role of physical modelling in the rehabilitation works for the Afsluitdijk

Emiel Boerma is a lead hydraulic engineer for the Afsluitdijk project from Rijkswaterstaat and has been involved in preparation works for the rehabilitation since 2014.

Coen Kuiper is the coastal discipline leader for Levvel, which is the contractor consortium, consisting of Van Oord, BAM and Rebel, for the rehabilitation works. 

In their keynote, they discuss the importance of scale model tests in the design, verification and validation process of the reconstruction works for the Afsluitdijk. The contractor used a combination of small- and large-scale model tests to optimize the stability number of the innovative armour units and to verify the geometry with regard to stability and wave overtopping. The model test results have ­­­­­­­also been used to determine the construction tolerances and criteria for the 25 years maintenance period.





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