Assessments of Wave-Structure Interactions for an Oscillating Wave Surge Converter using CFD
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This thesis is concerned with the use of the open source computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software package, OpenFOAM® for predicting and analysing the behaviour of a near-shore oscillating wave surge converter (OWSC), when subject to various types of ocean wave conditions in a numerical wave tank (NWT). OpenFOAM® which utilises a Finite Volume Method (FVM) is used to solve the incompressible, Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations for a two-phase fluid, based on a Volume of Fluid (VOF) phase-fraction approach to capture the interface between the air and water phases. Preliminary studies on classic wave-structure interaction benchmark cases, involving a fixed and a vertically oscillating semi-immersed horizontal cylinder are carried out. The gradual transition of the linear to non-linear behaviour of the horizontal and vertical forces induced on a fixed cylinder when subject to various regular waves, and the amplitude ratios of the surface waves elevations generated by the prescribed oscillatory motion of the cylinder, are shown to provide good overall agreement within the limitations of the relevant theory and the experimental data in the literature. The OWSC is modelled with the inclusion of a Power Take-Off (PTO) system, using a linear damping restraint, and simulated in two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) setups. The 2D and 3D numerical results, such as the surface wave elevations, flap angular velocity, PTO torque and flap angular displacement, compare well with one another and with the experimental data for operational regular head-on and oblique wave conditions. Small discrepancies between numerical results and experimental data are likely to be caused by non-linear behaviour of the PTO system. Pressure distributions on the flap surfaces and forces induced on the flap and hinge of the OWSC for various wave conditions are also presented. The effects between 2D and 3D wave-structure interactions become more significant when subject to large waves that break during impact. Comparison between the full scale and 1:24 scale numerical results of the OWSC shows no significant evidence of viscous and scaling effects. The validated 2D OWSC model is also subject to embedded focused waves, to predict the worse possible scenario of wave loading in extreme wave conditions. The delay of the focus event breaking is shown to affect the slamming behaviour for the larger focus event wave heights. Incorporation of a focused wave at different phase positions within a background of regular waves reveals that the focus event wave height has little effect on the peak tangential force on the flap during the slamming event, when a PTO cut-off mechanism is implemented to prevent excessive torque surges. In contrast, the peak radial force on the flap and the maximum resultant force on the hinge appear to respond more sensitively to the focus event wave height. It has been demonstrated that OpenFOAM® is able to provide a comprehensive understanding of the complex hydrodynamic analysis and prediction of highly non-linear wave-structure interactions for an OWSC, which give useful guidance and confidence to WEC developers on the design considerations relevant to the OWSC systems.
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