Physics projects for Y3 and Y4 students

Project description


(supervisor: Youra Taroyan)

Nature of project: theory, software

Available to students on full-time physics degree schemes or joint students.

Project description and methodology

Ordinary ocean waves are generated by wind or tides. Tsunamis are generated by displacements of water waves which could be caused by earthquakes, landslides, underwater explosions, or volcanic eruptions. Tsunamis may be undetected in the deep sea due to very long wavelengths and small amplitudes. However, they become dangerous when they reach the coast: they grow as the water becomes more and more shallow. An increase in wave amplitude when waves, including tsunamis, run from deep to shallow water is known as shoaling. The properties of tsunamis as they propagate from deep to shallow water, including changes in wavelength, propagation speed, and amplituide will be discussed.

A successful project will develop beyond the above in one/some of the following directions:
Tsunami simulations will be run and visualised in real-time animations using an interactive software. It is an open source software which needs minimum preparation to run on a Windows machine. Tsunamis with different initial amplitudes will be generated. The evolution of the generated tsunamis will be analysed as they approach islands of different shapes, slopes and heights.

When considering where to take your project, please bear in mind the time available. It is preferable to do fewer things well than to try many and not get conclusive results on any of them. However, sometimes it is useful to have a couple of strands of investigation in parallel to work on in case delays occur.

Additional scope or challenge if taken as a Year-4 project: Tsunamis behave like solitons with very large wavelength. The properties of solitons will be investigated theoretically and applied to the study of tsunamis.

Please speak to Youra Taroyan (yot) if you consider doing this project.

Initial literature for students:

  1. Tavakkol, S., & Lynett, P. (2017). Celeris: A GPU-accelerated open source software with a Boussinesq-type wave solver for real-time interactive simulation and visualization. Computer Physics Communications, 217, 117-127.
  2. Hereman W. (2012) Shallow Water Waves and Solitary Waves. In: Meyers R. (eds) Mathematics of Complexity and Dynamical Systems. Springer, New York, NY. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1308.5383.pdf
  3. Dutykh, D. (2007) Mathematical modelling of tsunami waves. Mathematics École normalesupérieure de Cachan - ENS Cachan. https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-00194763v2/document

Novelty, degree of difficulty and amount of assistance required

The project requires no background in programming, however, basic computer skills will be required. It is suitable for anyone interested in tsunamis.

Project milestones and deliverables (including timescale)

milestoneto be completed by
Basic overview of tsunamis end of October
setting up the softwareChristmas
Preliminary results, Visualisationend of February
Overview of the resultsEaster