Experimentally verified fluid loading models for slender horizontal cylinders in waves
This thesis reports on research work aimed at improving methods for predicting the fluid loading on fixed- and compliant offshore structures in waves. In focusing on slender member fluid-interaction models, the limitations and uncertainties associated with the widely-used Morison equation are examined. An improved empirical model has been developed and tested extensively alongside the Morison equation, using real experimental data. This improved model gives a better representation of the frequency dependency of the fluid-loading coefficients: this is particularly important in compliant motion conditions where the so-called relative velocity concept still needs to be verified under carefully controlled experimental conditions. The model is based entirely on the use of linear wave kinematics, thus simplifying calibration in irregular conditions and avoiding the need for a consistent non-linear wave theory (which is still lacking). By appropriate adaptation the improved model can also be extended to include amplitude dependency in the loading coefficients. The Improved Model has been developed through an analysis of experimental data. For this purpose the experimental work was focused on a horizontal cylinder, at model scale, located in a wave tank at the University of Sussex. The fluid loading experienced by a fixed cylinder, in both regular and irregular waves conditions, was measured and examined in detail. In addition, a comprehensive study of the loading on compliant cylinders, in both regular and irregular waves, was undertaken. Extensive use was made of appropriate parameter estimation techniques with initial attention (using simulated data) given to their accuracy for use with noisy experimental measurements. The effects of subtle (but undesirable) tank characteristics were also carefully taken into account. The study shows that, for fixed horizontal cylinders, benefits can be clearly identified in using the improved model, with frequency dependent coefficients, over the frequency dependent Morison equation. Moreover, the study shows that the relative velocity concept is more appropriate for use with the improved model than with the Morison model.