IH-3VOF is a code developed by IH Cantabria to resolve the three-dimensional flows in Coastal Engineering, specifically regarding wave-structure interactions.  presa-cuad-VOF-4

IH-3VOF is a model which is able to study, with a purely tridimentional focus, problems regarding porous media such as jetties.  The model can be applied directly to conventional coastal structures such as jetties. The run up as well as the forces acting upon the structure can be evaluated under different dynamic conditions. The model can therefore be used as a laboratory to carry out different experiments and obtain formulations to correctly design specific structures. It can also be applied directly to the hydrodinamic study in the surf zone considering the porous properties of the beach slope. The tangent tensions at the beach bottom can be calculated very precisely while also allowing us to better understand the transport mechanisms involved.

IH3VOF is able to simulate the behaviour of fluids within th eporous media, while also generating all different types of waves, simulating all types of marine structures. The model has been validated with lab tests (del Jesus et al. 2012).

plataforma-VOF-velo.0495IH-3VOF solves the three-dimensional Navier-Stokes equations for transitional flows in two phases. The VOF technique, developed by Rider and Kothe (1998) is used to study the interphase between two fluids. IH-3VOF is designed to simulate all the  phenomena which are relevant to Coastal Engineering. 

The spatial discretization of IH-3VOF is carried out using the fionite volume method, with structured and non-structured grids. A two step frantionary method  (Chorin 1968) is used to solve the velocity and pressure fields. The FGMRES method is used to solve the resulting Poisson equation. To eliminate the spatial oscillations in the pressures and velocity, the Rhie-Chow interpolation method is used. The code can be run both in parallel and in series, allowing complex calculations to be solved very quickly. 

IH-3VOF is an immensely versatile model able to simulate correctly the behaviour of fluids in wave-structure interaction studies.

Selected Publications:

del Jesus, M., Lara J.L., Losada I.J (2012) Three-dimensional interaction of waves and porous coastal structures. Part I: Numerical model formulation. Coastal Engineering ELSEVIER. Vol 64, pp. 57-72.

Lara J.L., del Jesus, M., Losada I.J (2012) Three-dimensional interaction of waves and porous coastal structures.Part II: Experimental validation.
Coastal Engineering ELSEVIER. Vol 64, pp. 26-46.

López Lara, Javier; Guanche García, Yanira; Del Jesus Peñil, Manuel; Losada Rodríguez, Iñigo; Barajas Ojeda, Gabriel, Análisis numérico del flujo alrededor del morro de diques con un modelo 3-D de Navier-Stokes Título Congreso: XI Jornadas Españolas de Costas y Puertos.

López Lara, Javier; Higuera Caubilla, Pabl; Del Jesus Peñil, Manuel; Losada Rodríguez, Iñigo; Guanche García, Yanira; Barajas Ojeda, Gabriel, Numerical simulation of three dimensional breaking waves on a gravel slope using two-phase flow Navier-Stokes model. ACOMEN 2011. 5th International Conference on Advanced Computational Methods in Engineering (ACOMEN 2011).

López Lara, Javier; Del Jesus Peñil, Manuel; Guanche García, Yanira; Losada Rodríguez, Íñigo; Barajas Ojeda, Gabriel, Surface water waves induced hydrodynamics around breakwater heads: 3D Navier-Stokes approach. Coastal Structures 2011.

López Lara, Javier; Del Jesus Peñil, Manuel; Guanche García, Yanira; Losada Rodríguez, Íñigo; Barajas Ojeda, Gabriel, Surface Water Waves Induced Hydrodynamics around Breakwater Heads. 3D Navier-Stokes Approach. MARINE 2011. IV International Conference on Computational methods in Marine Engineering.

Lara J. L., Losada I.J. del Jesus M., Barajas G. y Guanche R., IH-3VOF: A three dimensional Navier-Stokes model for wave and structure interaction.

Título del Congreso: Proceedings of the 32nd International Conference on Coastal Engineering. ASCE.

Javier L. Lara , Maria Maza, Pablo Higuera, Gabriel Barajas, Ínigo J. Losada, Numerical modelling of wave generation using a two phase model. Application to wave overtopping. ECCOMAS.

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TRANSFER (Tsunami Risk ANd Strategies For the European Region)

Transfer is a European project (FP6) with over 30 research centers, universities and European agencies. The project also includes end users (coastal management entities in local, regional and national government agencies such as civil protection departments, planning authorities, etc.).

The project aims to better understand tsunami processes in the Atlantic-Mediterranean European region, to assess the hazard, vulnerability and risk on European coasts; identify strategies to reduce the risk of tsunamis and establish the basis for an early warning system against tsunamis on European coasts.

As part of this project, IH Cantabria has developed and validated a tsunami propagation model (C3), established methodologies and guidelines for mapping flood probability, assessed the hazard, vulnerability and risk in Cadiz and  Balear islands and proposing mitigation measures. The project also included the study of resonance problems in the port of Palma de Mallorca due to tsunamis.

 Diapositiva transfer

Published in R&D projects

The COASTVIEW(2002-2005) is a European project which brings together universities, research centers and institutions who have an interest in coastal management. The project aims to implement a video camera system to monitor the coast. It aims to show the usefulness of these types of systems to effectively manage coastal systems and help understand the morphodynamic processes taking place.

Within this project, IH Cantabria has installed a video system studying the beach of "El Puntal" of Santander. The implementation of this system and a series of field campaigns carried out within the project, provided the basis for the development of numerical models and algorithms that allow the identification of image based indicators, in order to solve problems related with navigation safety in the port access channels, understand and protect the beaches and dunes from potential erosion, flooding, dredging impacts or construction works, and of course the social aspects of a beach such as this one which is heavily used during both summer and winter seasons for many different sporting and tourist activities.


Published in R&D projects
One of IH Cantabria's traditional lines of research has been the development of numerical models for the study of coastal processes related to both marine and sediment transport dynamics along with morphological changes on beaches.

The dynamic line marine research focuses on the study of propagation of waves, currents and sea level from turbulent processes to the processes in the larger spatial and temporal scales.

The projects carriedout in beach morphodynamics have contributed to major scientific breakthroughs, simulating both the morphology of the beaches in the short term by means of beach plan evolution (2DH) and profile (2DV) models, as well as in the understanding of the processes in the long term, through the development of beach specific models which take into consideration seasonal variability in beaches.

IH Cantabria invests heavily in knowledge transfer of scientific results to ensure that they benefit society, implementing models and working methods which are the result of research and experience and making them more user friendly. An example of this type of tool is the Coastal Modelling System SMC. The models developed adhere to a continuous process of validation and callibration using experimental testing in our lab facilities IHLabHidro and field testing through our beach monitoring systems.

The morphological variations in beaches take place in different spatial and temporal scales. One of the techniques used to analyze beach morphodynamics in the long term scale (years to decades) consists of trying to  search for the equilibrium geometry or multiannual average geometry adopted by a beach, taking into account the variability and aggregated values ​​of marine and sedimentary dynamics (waves , sea levels, currents, winds , D50 , etc. ..).

The concepts of profile and plant
quilibrium are part of what can be called " Engineering Methods in Beach Design", widely used by Coastal Engineers in stability and beach nourishment studies. To define the shape in plan and profile of a beach in equilibrium various approaches have been proposed in the literature .

Following this line of research, numerous scientific contributions have been made by the researchers at IH Cantabria in the last 25 years which have aimed to establish new formulations for the beach planform and profile. These formulations have also been included in practical pplications such as the 

The catastrophic Tsunami which took place in Indonesia in December 2004, with more than 250,000 deaths, raised awareness of the danger of these global phenomena, and the need for further study.

IH Cantabria has been involved for the past 15 years, in numerous programs and research projects on tsunamis,  at the national, European and international level. The research team at IH Cantabria ghas worked intensively with the Scientific Advisor Risk Office of the European Commission to help identify strategic research lines on tsunami related issues.

At IH Cantabria, the research focuses on the development of:

  • new numerical models of tsunami propagation.
  • methodologies designed to assess flood probability, vulnerability and risk maps at different scales can be applied at the national or local scale all around the world
  • characterization and modeling of tsunami generation mechanisms due to seismotectonic sources and sliding
  • development of new operating systems, such as TSUSY, that allow using numerical modeling to determine in real time, the impact of a tsunami on the coast.
  • design of tools for early warning systems.
IH Cantabria is aware of the complexity, importance and fragility of coastal areas, which is why many researchers are dedicated  to studying the vulnerability of coastal areas facing different natural and anthropogenic hazards, such as water pollution, erosion coastal oil spills, river and coastal flooding, tsunamis or the threats associated with climate change.

The multidisciplinary approach at IH Cantabria has enabled the development of a specific methodology to analyze risks from various threats, taking into account not only the probability of occurrence of the threat and uncertainty, vulnerability of the coastal system in an integrated manner, understanding the interrelationships between the human, environmental and socio-economic and spatial-temporal variations.

Given the importance of connecting science and management in the field of coastal risks, the results provide easy ily accessible information to allow institutional strengthening through the transfer of scientific and technological advances and thereby contributing to the management of risk with the best information available.

IH Cantabria participa en numerosos programas y proyectos de investigación en Gestión Integrada de Zonas Costeras tanto a nivel nacional como europeo. Las líneas de investigación en las que trabaja incluye el desarrollo de nuevas metodologías para el diagnóstico y la planificación integrada costera, el estudio de actores costeros y sus redes sociales, el análisis de los sistemas de gobernanza costera o el desarrollo de sistemas de indicadores de progreso en la GIZC.

Además IH Cantabria ha desarrollado herramientas de apoyo a la gestión integrada de zonas costeras como el , sistemas de monitorización de la costa mediante cámaras de video , sistemas de información geográfica y sistemas de apoyo para la toma de decisiones.

Finalmente la transferencia de los resultados de estas investigaciones ha permitido la impartición de cursos a medida para investigadores de Kuwait o colaboraciones con másters internacionales como el Erasmus Mundus en Biodiversidad Marina y Conservación o el Erasmus Mundus en Gestión del Agua y de la Costa.


IH Cantabria participates in many research projects focusing on Integrated Coastal Zone Management at both the national and European level. This research area includes the development of new methods for an integrated diagnosis and coastal planning, actor stocktaking, analysis of coastal governance systems or the development of progress indicators in ICZM.

IH Cantabria also has developed tools to support integrated coastal zone management such as the  Coastal Modelling System SMC,   (HORUS) which monitors the coast using videocameras,  geographic information systems and support systems for decision making (GIS and DSS).

Finally the transfer of the results of this research has enabled us to develop Capacity Building and Training courses  for coastal planners and amnagers from Kuwait, Egypt or El Salvador among others or collaborations with international masters programmes such as Erasmus Mundus Marine Biodiversity and Conservation Erasmus Mundus or in Water Management and the Coast.

VIGES2. Establishes the development of specific protocols for assessing the ecological status of water bodies in the coastal environment of discharges inareas  surrounding outfalls. (CTM2008-04649/Tecno). 2008-2011. MEC. National R + D + I (2008-2011)

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires Member States to protect, enhance and restore all bodies of surface water in order to achieve at least "good status" by 2015. This raises, among other actions, the need to establish "operational control" in those water bodies at the risk of failing their environmental objectives, as would be the case of areas in which there are sewage discharges due to outfalls. To respond to this need, this project seeks to standardize and validate specific protocols for the evaluation of the chemical and ecological status of coastal water bodies in the area of influence of outfall discharges. Within this framework, we have developed VIGES2. 

The specific objectives of the project are:

To develop a procedure to limit thearea affected by outfall discharges while integrating the randomness of different hydrometeorological phenomena associated with pollutant dispersion.

To develop and standardize procedures for the assessment of biological indicators (phytoplankton, macroalgae and invertebrates) applicable to the quantification of the effects of discharges from outfalls.

To select and confirm the most appropriate and sensitive procedures for the evaluation of the chemical and ecological status of water bodies in outfall affected coastal areas.

To transfer the results, using standardized procedures, to train managers and planners working on the Cantabrian coast.




VIGES2. Desarrollo de protocolos específicos para la evaluación del estado ecológico de las masas de agua costeras en el entorno de incluencia de vertidos de emisarios submarinos. (CTM2008-04649/Tecno). 2008-2011. MEC. Plan Nacional I+D+I (2008-2011)

La Directiva Marco del Agua (DMA) exige a los Estados Miembros proteger, mejorar y restaurar todas las masas de agua superficiales con el fin de alcanzar al menos el "Buen estado" para el año 2015. Para ello plantea, entre otras actuaciones, la necesidad de establecer "controles operativos" en aquellas masas de agua en riesgo de incumplir sus objetivos medioambientales, tal y como sería el caso de las zonas sometidas a vertidos de aguas residuales a través de emisarios submarinos. Con el fin de dar respuesta a esta necesidad, el presente proyecto trata de estandarizar y validar protocolos específicos para la evaluación del estado químico y del estado ecológico de las masas de agua costeras en el entorno de influencia de vertidos de emisarios submarinos. Dentro de este marco conceptual, se ha desarrollado el poryecto VIGES2, cuyos objetivos específicos son los siguientes:

  • Desarrollar un procedimiento para la delimitación del entorno de afección de los vertidos de emisarios submarinos que integre la aleatoriedad de los diferentes fenómenos hidrometeorológicos asociados a los fenómenos de dispersión de contaminantes.
  • Desarrollar y estandarizar procedimientos para la evaluación de indicadores biológicos (fitoplancton, macroalgas e invertebrados) aplicables a la cuantificación de los efectos producidos por vertidos de emisarios submarinos.
  • Seleccionar y validar los procedimientos más adecuados y sensibles para la evaluación del estado químico y ecológico de las masas de agua costeras en el entorno de afección de los vertidos por emisario submarino.
  • Transferir los resultados obtenidos, en forma de procedimientos estandarizados, a los gestores competentes en el ámbito de las Demarcaciones Hidrográficas del litoral Cantábrico.
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At IH Cantabria we have begun to develop and apply quantitative tools to investigate the evolution morphodynamics of rivers, estuaries and coasts. In particular, we have focused on addressing the coupling between physical and biological processes in a variety of spatial and temporal scales.

We intend to increase the basic knowledge in the area of environmental fluid mechanics and ecohydraulics using a complex systems approach that describes the feedback between biology, hydrodynamics, sediment transport and morphological evolution. In particular,  laboratory experiments and numerical experiments have been united to understand how interactions between hydrodynamics and benthic population result in a variety of complex and unexpected behaviors that affect our ability to predict the long-term evolution of these systems. Regarding the study of the geomorphological evolution of the estuary, the objective is to develop predictive tools, by emphasizing the interactions between vegetation, hydrodynamics and sediment transport (sand and mud).

Published in R&D projects
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