Scientific & Industrial motivations

Civil structures and infrastructures in desert environments and sandy coastal regions are sensitive to windblown sand. Even if the problem was first tackled in the fifties, it has emerged as a key scientific, technical and economic issue in the last decade. Indeed, windblown sand effects can lead to several incremental costs in infrastructure management, and also disastrous events.

The demand for the design of Sand Mitigation Measures (SMM) has grown in the last decade and it is expected to further increase in the next years. However, the rigorous performance assessment of SMMs is still missing in the scientific literature and technical practice. On the one hand, the multiphysics and multiscale nature of the involved phenomena make analytical approaches inapplicable. On the other hand, current experimental physical and computational approaches do not fulfill alone modelling requirements and practical needs of infrastructure designers.


The HyPer SMM project aims at finding a way forward by developing an innovative hybrid approach, as a brand-new design and-assessment methodology in the field. It combines innovative Wind-Sand Computational Simulations (WSCS) and highly reliable Wind-Sand Tunnel Test (WSTT).

The main scientific and training objectives of the project include:

  •  the development of highly reliable WSTT to assess SMM performance;
  •  the extension of WSTT-based SMM performance from scale to full-scale conditions by means of WSCS;
  •  the drafting of best practices/guidelines to SMM performance assessment;
  •  enrich Experience Researcher’s (ER) scientific competences on the specific topic;
  •  enforce ER’s management skills and professional independence.

In order to guarantee the multidisciplinary and intersectoral objectives, the layout of the project envisages the ER hosting at a research center in fluid dynamics (Von Karman Institute, BE) and the ER secondment at a consulting company in computational simulations (Optiflow, FR).

Work Packages

HyPer SMM comprises three scientific Work Packages (WP) functional to the objectives described above:

  • WP1 is devoted to the conception of a shared modelling framework for WP2 and WP3, combine and extend their results.
  • WP2 is devoted to the wind-sand tunnel testing of sand mitigation measures.
  • WP3 is devoted to the wind-sand computational simulation of sand mitigation measures.

In addition:

  • WP4 is devoted to the project management and monitoring,  scientific dissemination and exploitation, and communication of the obtained results to different target audiences.