Beach Pier Pylons Are Misshaped For Erosion Patterns Caused By the Prevailing Tide

Not long ago, I was jogging on the beach during low-tide and as I passed under the pier I noted that it was quite a bit lower than usual perhaps between sets, or it just happened to be the lowest at the time I was jogging under the pier while on my run. Anyway, this was good because I was able to run where the sand was hardest and able to accelerate while jogging to prevent being between pylons as the next wave came.

One thing I notices which didn't surprise me was all the missing sand directly around each pylon in a tear drop shape. This makes sense for anyone who studies aerodynamics, in fact had I been asked what it should look like, that's what I would have answered. Okay so, let's talk about this for second shall we?

There was an interesting research paper published recently which discussed the unfortunate circumstance where oil rigs and oil equipment platforms cause erosion and how the pre-study predictions and modeling were actually incorrect because they don't take into consideration how the erosion patterns eventually change the water flows and therefore, we aren't getting the right answer.

If we are to prevent storm surges from flooding lower Manhattan, Atlantic City, or many of the low-lying areas in the United States, then we need to understand the erosion patterns of the beaches, barrier islands, and also anything man-made that we stick in the water. Things like offshore wind turbines, beach pier pilings, docs, or anything else. These upright tubular objects whether they are they from old tree trunks, or steel or some other alloyed combination which does not rust or corrode from the ocean salt water should be designed in a tear drop shape.

This would prevent the erosion patterns of holes being dug behind the pilings and the loss of structural strength of those foundations. How hard would this be to do? It wouldn't be that hard in the case of using hardened steel and alloys. Obviously tree trunks do not come in the tear drop shape, but in the future we will probably be using composite materials, and we can make them any shape we wish. The power of the ocean is well-known, and we should not tempt fate.

The things that mankind builds in the ocean will not be here for thousands of years like the pyramids. We need to think ahead, and build these things very strong. Not only do they have to hold back the weight of the water, but the ocean waves over time work like a solvent a eroding away the landscape and anything we stick in it. Indeed I ask that you please consider all this and think on it if you are an engineer working on such things.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Future Concepts. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;

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