Breakwater Design


We’ve covered thia all before. You know damned good and well that the design is patented and the name is trademarked.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #264

are we off topic yet ? (ref 875 )

@jwliberstead | a great video giving a picture what “breakwater wall getting broadsided” means in terms of brunt impact force in marine practice - and what size and make (Mullberry | Monaco | Oostershelde | ) it requires…This is the explanation why a small venture (<500m) needs a bow to point against this…just like a ship… (link prelude indicates “what kind of a bow” is required…) - even a structure like Prelude would sustain heavy damage taking this boadsided - but it can stand that pointing a bow towards the wave on a turret mooring.

(Matias Volco) #265

Nobody in the general public realizes or cares thet are aboard a floating piece of real estate. I don’t think even the sexy cars’ insurers see the floating pier extension as anything but a welcome parking opportunity.

(Chad Elwartowski) #266

Interesting thought. I wonder how much seaweed would be needed to dampen waves and to what degree. Giant kelp can grow to 175 feet, grows faster than bamboo and has many benefits.

If there were a seamount shallow enough that could be surrounded with giant kelp maybe the center would be fairly calm in most conditions.

If the seastead could have an economy built from harvesting and growing giant kelp the surrounding “farms” would actually be the breakwater.


Have you ever eaten seaweed? A lot of it? To me it tastes awful. I lived in Japan during college, and ate seaweed at breakfast and dinner every day for a considerable period. In Japan it seems to be used more for flavor and nutrients than a staple. Seaweed is high in vitamins and minerals. It is not very filling.

I actually think Sargasso itself may be edible and sustainable. It does not need a bottom like Kelp, and can easily be held by loose floating nets. (Sargassum, or here in the us Gulfweed).

I’d like seaweed better if it tasted like steak. So as long as we are dreaming, how about having a seastead surrounded by acres of steak-flavored Sargasso?

(Larry G) #268

Exactly. It’s fine as an ingredient in soup. It’s not a life worth living to eat nothing but seaweed, unless you’re just trying to survive until someone rescues you. There are a lot of ways to get vitamins that don’t taste very good. Sprouting land grains and seeds, spirulina cultivation in fresh water…

Most seaweed is edible, if not very tasty. I believe giant kelp is only viable in colder waters.


Seaweed could be used 2 ways, to produce fuel… Biodiesel and biogas. Hell, could even use some in a gasifier, as engine fuel, and to produce the potash to make the biodiesel.

Sargasso Sea Biodiesel… There’s you another business model, Larry @thebastidge

(Chad Elwartowski) #270

As we begin to think about living on the sea we need to figure out how we can use the things that are available for every day items we usually get from land. I wasn’t talking about eating the kelp. When I think about bamboo I don’t think about the stuff I eat at the chinese restaurant. I think about the many other uses of bamboo. Just like with kelp.

From the link:

Giant kelp is harvested as a source of algin, an emulsifying and binding agent used in the production of many foods and cosmetics, like ice cream, toothpaste and cereals.

Whatever seastead gets going, its success will be enhanced if there is a useful product to export.

This link references some studies that show that in kelp forests the current speed is slower and the wave height is smaller. However it states that too much surge and storms tend to pull the kelp from their footings. So it would not be useful in harsh environments but might be useful in calmer waters.

A combination of several approaches may be the solution.

(Matias Volco) #271

alage is already valuable needed commodity for the food industry; like gum arabic. connected world; differentiation of labor instead of bogus self sufficiency: like the gum acacia of the sahel which provides som bit of shade and nothing else on a local individual level, but on which large global food processing relies on putting the sahel on the economic map

good point, mentioned in post #15 and continued discussion:

floating breakwaters do not work as long as the elements are not signifficantly bigger than the wavelength (2-3 times) a oceanic surface floating breakwater needs to have 400m to start to be effective
. On the other hand even small particles like kelp fields and Mangrove roots DO have an accumulative wave dampening effect.

Nature’s aproach : Wave dampening by - submerged reefs, mangrove roots, kelp fields, sand beach, ice field, gradual dampening, turbulence (sucking gradually energy out of the wave) instead of a frontal crash against a massive seawall …

How do we reconcille these scales and to what purpose? Wicks and generators could create a kelp like forest of seacrete (which can be harvested as aggregate or gravel)

Many ramforms or other volumes of different sizes and stages and uses could together mimick an natural resilient coastline.

Cliff coastlines are perillous and unstable compared to all other gradual dampening naturally occurring coastlines.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #272

consider: seasteading is not about eating sealgea but transforming what we have now into what we envision tomorrow (ref.638) who envisons tomorrow sitting on an isolated thing floating in the ocean eating algea ? | Kelp is certainly a interesting topic in the context of LNG intergration techology | liquid fuel from algea pyrolysis |

Back to breakwater design | @Matias - mimmick natural resilience of a coastline definitly is a strong point

• gradual dampening
• underwater reef

…for phase 3

submerged objects ( here fish cages on tension anchor ) can work wave dampening like a coral reef… (ref 965 ) or a kelp field …

Large underwater objects like a underwater tunnel leading to phase3 seastead can double as reef style - breakwater…

context: | Ocean Sphere | oceanic business alliance | oceanic real estate |

(Matias Volco) #273

Thanks @ellmer for explaining the role of diverse underwater objects serving multiple functions.

Can this distributed approach permit getting to phase 3 in a gradual manner without central planning and monolithic upfront costs?


To clarify (for myself) what is being debated -

  • (#1) the Ramform shape (regardless of the name) is intended to refract the surface wave’s energy away from the floating city. It is not primarily intended to actually absorb the surface wave’s energy. Correct?

  • (#2) the Ramform must be several multiples of potential wavelength in hortizontal length (bow to stern) to be effective. Correct?

  • (#3) the surface waves’ direction can only, at best, be generalized … so the Ramform’s refractive surface must either be movable (to point directly into the oncoming surface waves) or multiple Ramforms must be used to account for incoming surface waves from many directions. Correct?

  • (#4) the Ramform’s impact with the surface wave will transfer some amount of energy from the surface wave onto the Ramform, causing the Ramform to move in (geocoordinate) position. However, if the Ramform funtions as intended, the Floating City will receive substantially less energy from the surface wave, causing the Ramform to move toward the Floating City. Therefore, either a mechanical connection between the two will be necessary or generated energy will be required to maintain separation between the Ramform and the Floating City. Correct?


The true, patented Ramform actually does not have to be any particular size in relation to the wavelength, because of fluid dynamics (think aerodynamics for things in a thicker fluid medium) The shape of the hull does much the same thing as a sternwheeler hull, in that it parts the waves and smooths the flow, ,making for a smooth flow behind the vessel. In sternwheelers, that reduced turbulence translates into better power transmission from the wheel. In hydro-geology, it translates into silence for the microphones of the streamers.

The opposite effect, creating a smooth surface flow, has been demonstrated using structures on the floor, that cause the wave energy to be redistributed primarily in the middle layers of the water, just like natural areas that are almost always calm.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #276

(# 1) yes - in general a bow does split the wave and minimizes the impact forces check on the concepts of “turn into the wind - wave direction” and “get broadsided” to get the idea of why the “how you take a wave is important” …in impact and damage control…
(# 2) no - a ship can ride over a wave without “cancelling or breaking” it nor being “impacted by it” and still have a “privileged calm water area” at the stern area…
(# 3) no | check - turrett mooring | it allows to point the bow in the wave direction always, automaticly and without exception…a ship at anchor give you the correct general image.
(#4) …not sure what you mean …

Wave breaking as a concept only comes in for structures the size of | Monaco Breakwater | Oostershelde | and Mullberry | being Mullberry still too small as it was broadsided and damaged in practice… | context: phases of a seastead

anything smaller than 500 m needs to resort to a bow as wave defense to be feasible… what kind of bow check prelude

(Matias Volco) #277

In the first video above you can see a small floating harbor and sailboats moored to it exactly as they would be moored in a marina, with lines and bumpers. Houseboats can be moored the same way.
As a ramform project grows in lenght so it can accomodate a larger moonpool area, more rigid or flexible connections can be combined.

(Chris) #278

What if it tasted like bacon?

(Gavin Brown) #279

I can see that this topic is about break waters but surely our seastead would have built in wave power generators? I would have Salters duck style generators approximately 5-10 meters from main structure with added horizontal piston style rams so capable of capturing 90% of up, down, and horizontal power from the waves. An enclosed breakwater encircling the whole Seastead does have its advantages of creating a safe haven for other ships but would be a massive additional cost.


In varying types of realistic conditions, the efficiency of the duck varies wildly and often drops to around 50%, as ducks are more often used in rough weather in order to convert enough wave power. Conversely, ducks are not useful in calm weather, as the waves would not have enough energy for there to be any efficiency in converting it.

Ocean energies: environmental, economic, and technological aspects of alternative power sources. Elsevier. pp. 141–142. ISBN 978-0-444-88248-6.


@JL_Frusha - the bow displaces the mass of water sideways when cresting a wave, gravity causing the boat (or Ramform) to plow through the crest rather than floating over it.

But that effect (displacement … caused by gravity) is different from the refraction of surface wave energy, in that displaced water fills the void behind the boat as it moves forward and refracted energy does not.

Surface wave energy is refracted at an angle, and that energy wave then continues in that new direction.

So the Ramform uses gravity to displace water and position the Ramform’s bow below the water surface … and that below-surface position consequently allows the Ramform’s bow to refract wave energy.

To be beneficial for a Floating City, the energy of the surface wave must be refracted by the Ramform away from the city platforms (or dissipated via energy transfer … e.g., using turbines to generate electricity).

A tethered Ramform rotates around the tether, refracting surface wave energy away from the energy shadow (the area behind the Ramform’s stern).

What is the plan for continuously moving the Floating City, so that it remains in that energy shadow?


@Matias - so the Floating City requires a physical connection to the Ramform, and the Ramform must be tethered to the ocean floor?