Complex Korteweg-de Vries equation: A deeper theory of shallow water waves

M. Crabb, N. Akhmediev

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Using Levi-Cività's theory of ideal fluids, we derive the complex Korteweg-de Vries (KdV) equation, describing the complex velocity of a shallow fluid up to first order. We use perturbation theory, and the long wave, slowly varying velocity approximations for shallow water. The complex KdV equation describes the nontrivial dynamics of all water particles from the surface to the bottom of the water layer. A crucial step made in our work is the proof that a natural consequence of the complex KdV theory is that the wave elevation is described by the real KdV equation. The complex KdV approach in the theory of shallow fluids is thus more fundamental than the one based on the real KdV equation. We demonstrate how it allows direct calculation of the particle trajectories at any point of the fluid, and that these results agree well with numerical simulations of other authors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number022216
    JournalPhysical Review E
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


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