Analytical Model of Inlet Growth and Equilibrium Cross-Sectional Area
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg
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PURPOSE This Coastal and Hydraulics Engineering Technical Note CHETN focuses on inlet stability theory in the context of quantifying the conditions responsible for inlet growth, maintenance, or collapse. The theoretical underpinnings are drawn from the classic Escoffier 1940 inlet stability analysis to produce a new quadratic formula derived from simplified momentum and conservation equations describing maximum inlet flow velocity. While the models give similar results, they are formulated using different simplifying assumptions and thus encompass a broader range of theoretical alternatives to investigate inlet stability. The quadratic formula provides quantitative estimates of equilibrium cross-sectional area and depth and can be used to investigate the low-order dynamics of barrier island inlets, including breaches and other constricted flow regions that are driven by tidal forcing.