Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering


Vijay G. Panchang

Second Committee Member

Michael Boyle

Third Committee Member

Justin Poland

Additional Committee Members

Zeki Demirbilek


This thesis describes the use of the numerical model CGWAVE to predict wave conditions at Ponce de Leon Inlet, Florida. Model predictions are compared to measured wave heights obtained from a physical model study conducted at the Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station (WES). CGWAVE is a state-of-the-art coastal surface water wave prediction model based on the mild slope equation, which may be used to predict waves in design studies for ports and harbors, open coasts, inlets, around islands, and estuaries. Ports and harbors are used for commercial, recreational and military purposes. Waterborne commerce has significant advantages over other kinds of transportation means due to its low cost and high capacity. Several major U.S. ports/harbors currently have renovations plans in response to the future expansion of ocean-borne world commerce, and related engineering projects generally require a detailed knowledge of the wave field in the project areas. Physical and numerical model studies are often conducted concurrently for these projects to evaluate technical feasibility and to optimize design alternatives. The Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station (WES) constructed a 1: 100 scale physical model of Ponce de Leon Inlet, Florida and utilized it for studying the transformation of waves for evaluation of their models and the project needs. The physical model study used both monochromatic and spectral wave conditions that covered a wide range of wave periods and wave directions. Wave heights recorded by twelve gauges were used in this research to determine how well the CGWAVE model could reproduce the measurements. This model validation study can be used to guide future applications of CGWAVE in other projects. Lessons learned and knowledge gained about model performance can help users to determine the applicability of this model and thus may help to reduce the need for field or laboratory data measurements that may be costly. The performance of the numerical model CGWAVE in Ponce Inlet is described in this thesis, and model estimates are compared to measured data.