H2020 HyPer SMM - Hybrid Performance Assessment of Sand Mitigation Measures


An innovative methodology to assess the performance of

sand mitigation measures

In desert environments and sandy coastal regions, windblown sand can increase management costs and also cause disasters in civil structures and infrastructures. On the one hand, urbanized coastal areas are experiencing increasing windstorm frequency due to climate change, causing sand transport from beaches to anthropic environments. On the other hand, desert regions are more and more hosting new infrastructure megaprojects.

The recent demand for sand mitigation measures is expected to increase further in the coming years. However, their rigorous performance assessment is still absent in scientific literature and technical practice. This is because the nature of windblown sand makes analytical approaches inapplicable, and current experimental physical and computational approaches don’t meet the needs of infrastructure designers.

To address this issue, the EU-funded HyPer SMM project aims to develop an innovative hybrid approach that will serve as a novel design and assessment methodology for SMMs. The approach will combine innovative wind-sand computational simulations and highly reliable wind-sand tunnel testing.




The proposed hybrid approach combines highly reliable Wind-Sand Tunnel Test (WSTT), and innovative Wind-Sand Computational Simulations (WSCS) analysis.

HyPer SMM approach foresees the use of WSTT to qualitatively observe physical phenomena and quantitatively measure sand and wind state variables, and to enable tuning and validation of the WSCS model. On the other hand, WSCS is adopted as a design tool to setup an effective testing protocol for WSTT.
Furthermore, once validated at the WSTT scale, WSCS allows to extend WSTT measurements in order to assess sand mitigation measure performances from scale to full-scale conditions, and analyse variables not measured/measurable during WSTT.

The complementary combination of WSTT and WSCS will provide a deep insight into the scaling effects to sand mitigation measure performance, lowering the costs and time consumption with respect to in-situ full scale testing. The multidisciplinary-intersectoral layout of HyPer SMM project is conceived to implement the hybrid approach, and to allow its industrial application perspective.



The HyPer SMM project foresees the close cooperation between von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, as beneficiary, and the computational wind engineering consulting company Optiflow member of Windblown Sand Modelling and Mitigation joint research group, as partner organization.


Project Stats

Duration: 2 years (1 July 2020 - 30 June 2022)

Budget: € 166 320

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 885985.