An explicit approximation to the wavelength of nonlinear waves

Hsien-Kuo Chang*, Shi Chuan Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


An explicit and concise approximation to the wavelength in which the effect of nonlinearity is involved and presented in terms of wave height, wave period, water depth and gravitational acceleration. The present approximation is in a rational form of which Fenton and Mckee's (1990, Coastal Engng 14, 499-513) approximation is reserved in the numerator and the wave steepness is involved in the denominator. The rational form of this approximation can be converted to an alternative form of a power-series polynomial which indicates that the wavelength increases with wave height and decreases with water depth. If the determined coefficients in the present approximation are fixed, the approximating formula can provide a good agreement with the wavelengths numerically obtained by Rienecker and Fenton's (1981, J. Fluid Mech. 104, 119-137) Fourier series method, but has large deviations when waves of small amplitude are in deep water or all waves are in shallow water. The present approximation with variable coefficients can provide excellent predictions of the wavelengths for both long and short waves even, for high waves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-160
Number of pages14
JournalOcean Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 1999


  • Explicit approximation
  • Nonlinear waves
  • Wavelength

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