Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Engineering (Research)


Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Ger Kelly


The objective of this literature review is to gather the relevant information regarding beach characteristics and beach erosion in order to undertake the project development stage of the thesis project. The background information that was reviewed was the different zones that are located on a beach; the functions of a beach and what most beaches are commonly used for; how beaches were formed; the legislation that is related to the beach or any work that is required to be carried out on a beach and some background information on the erosion of beaches.

The most relevant beach characteristics that impact on beach erosion that were found were the soil gradation and particle size of the beach material; the beach slope/profile; if a sand bar and vegetation exists on a beach; the waves that impact on the beach; the level of the high tide at the beach and the wind at the beach. The most appropriate method of measuring the particle size of the soil was found to be by sieving. The industry standard method of measuring the beach slope/profile was found to be by using GPS. The existence of a sand bar and vegetation can be found by visual inspection, fhe waves are measured by offshore buoys and the near shore data can be found using appropriate software. The level of the tide can be found in published tide tables.

The processes that transport beach material and have a large impact on beach erosion were found to be bed load transport; suspended load transport; sheet flow transport and aeolian transport. These transport processed then transport the soil in primarily two directions - cross shore (perpendicular with the shore line) and longshore (parallel with the shore line). The beach characteristics have a large impact on the level of beach erosion that occurs. They cause beach erosion but can also protect against it if in the appropriate state. The beach protection measured that were discovered during the literature review were planting of natural vegetation; sand recharge; groynes; a breakwater; an artificial reef; a seawall/revetment and the modification of existing protection measures.

The information that is contained in this report will be used to carry out work during the project realisation stage in order to achieve the overall objective of the thesis.

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