Research Papers: Ocean Engineering

J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. 2017;140(1):011101-011101-11. doi:10.1115/1.4037487.

Near field flow characteristics around catamarans close to resonant conditions involve violent viscous flow such as energetic vortex shedding and steep wave making. This paper presents a systematic and comprehensive numerical investigation of these phenomena at various oscillating frequencies and separation distances of twin sections. The numerical model is based on the solution of Navier–Stokes equations assuming laminar-flow conditions with a volume of fluid (VOF) approach which has proven to be particularly effective in predicting strongly nonlinear radiated waves which directly affect the magnitude of the hydrodynamic forces around resonant frequencies. Considered nonlinear effects include wave breaking, vortex shedding and wave-body wave-wave interactions. The method is first validated using available experiments on twin circular sections: the agreement in a very wide frequency range is improved over traditional linear potential flow based solutions. Particular attention is given to the prediction of added mass and damping coefficients at resonant conditions where linear potential flow methods fail, if empirical viscous corrections are not included. The results of the systematic investigation show for the first time how the so-called piston-mode motion characteristics are nonlinearly dependent on the gap width and motion amplitude. At low oscillation amplitudes, flow velocity reduces and so does the energy lost for viscous effects. On the other hand for higher oscillation amplitude, the internal free surface breaks dissipating energy hence reducing the piston mode amplitude. These effects cannot be numerically demonstrated without a computational technique able to capture free surface nonlinearity and viscous effects.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Ocean Space Utilization

J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. 2017;140(1):011201-011201-9. doi:10.1115/1.4037488.

Numerical simulations and experiments of an elastic circular collar of a floating fish farm are reported. The floater model without netting structure is moored with nearly horizontal moorings and tested in regular deep-water waves of different steepnesses and periods without current. Local overtopping of waves was observed in steep waves. The focus here is on the vertical accelerations along the floater in the different conditions. The experiments show that higher-order harmonics of the accelerations matter. A three-dimensional (3D) weak-scatter model with partly nonlinear effects as well as a 3D linear frequency-domain method based on potential flow are used. From their comparison against the measurements, strong 3D and frequency dependency effects as well as flexible floater motions matter. The weak-scatter model can only partly explain the nonlinearities present in the measured accelerations.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Offshore Technology

J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. 2017;140(1):011301-011301-6. doi:10.1115/1.4037486.

Collisions and grounding accidents of ships, but also the failure of the hull-integrity, can lead to oil leakage. Examples are the Rena in 2011, the Hebei Spirit in 2007, and the much known accident of the Prestige in 2002. Consequently, research regarding the enhancement of the structural design to increase the safety-level of ships in case of accidents is important. In this paper, the use of a rubber bag as a second barrier is presented as an alternative concept to prevent oil leakage in case of accidents. The influence of the rubber bag is investigated using the exemplary simulation of a ship collision. A simplified tanker side structure as well as a box-shaped rubber bag is analyzed with the finite element (FE) method. The material model for the rubber bag is calibrated with tensile tests to obtain the required material parameters. The reaction forces and the associated penetration depth are analyzed. The comparison is done between the structure with and without the rubber bag. For the latter, the general behavior of an empty tank in a ship side structure is compared with the large-scale experimental results. Furthermore, an additional increase of the collision resistance of the ship due to the rubber bag without changing the common structural design is discussed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. 2017;140(1):011302-011302-8. doi:10.1115/1.4037830.

Deepwater environments raise higher demand on the bearing capacity of the drilling conductor below the mudline. To deal with this problem, a conductor bearing capacity enhancement device was designed. The setting capability of this device and its axial bearing capacity were analyzed with soil mechanics and pile theory. Furthermore, a calculation model was developed, and a numerical method was used to solve for the lateral capacity, coupled with drilling platform, riser, conductor, seabed soft soil, and the device. The result shows that proper setting depth of the device is primarily determined by the property of the soil, rather than the conductor jetting operation. Additionally, appropriate determination of the diameter and wall thickness (WT) of this device can greatly improve the lateral bearing capacity of the conductor.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Polar and Arctic Engineering

J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. 2017;140(1):011501-011501-10. doi:10.1115/1.4037472.

Polycrystalline isotropic ice was selected as the material of choice for this fundamental study on the mechanical behavior of ice. Two essential properties of the ice structure are the porosity and degree of anisotropy (DA). On the one hand, it is clear that these two factors have a great influence on the mechanical properties of the material. On the other hand, however, they are strongly dependent on the laboratory procedure used to fabricate the ice samples. Thus, in this work, three procedures to produce ice samples are analyzed. For this purpose, the structural and mechanical properties observed in uniaxial compression tests are discussed for each sample fabrication procedure. Then, after the most suitable fabrication procedure has been determined, the viscous behavior of isotropic ice is analyzed and discussed using the results of simple compression test at different temperatures and axial strain rates.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Structures and Safety Reliability

J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. 2017;140(1):011601-011601-9. doi:10.1115/1.4037789.

In this paper, the long-term extreme response of a vessel rolling in random beam seas and the associated reliability evaluation are addressed. The long-term response analysis is based on the upcrossing rates of the roll motion under different sea states. Generally, for nonlinear roll motion in random seas, the high-level roll response is sensitive and closely related to the nonlinear effects associated with the restoring and damping terms. Therefore, assessing the corresponding statistics of the random roll motion with low probability levels is difficult and time-consuming. In this work, the Markov theory is introduced in order to tackle this problem. Specifically, for the dead ship condition, the random roll excitation moment is approximated as a filtered white noise process by applying a second-order linear filter and an efficient four-dimensional (4D) path integration (PI) technique is applied in order to calculate the response statistics. Furthermore, the reliability evaluation is based on the well-known Poisson estimate as well as on the upcrossing rate calculated by the 4D PI method. The long-term analysis and reliability evaluation of the nonlinear roll motion in random seas, which consider the variation of the sea states could be a valuable reference for ship stability research.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Piper and Riser Technology

J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. 2017;140(1):011701-011701-15. doi:10.1115/1.4037727.

Marine drilling riser is subject to complicated environmental loads which include top motions due to mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU), wave loads, and current loads. Cyclic dynamic loads will cause severe fatigue accumulation along the drilling riser system, especially at the subsea wellhead (WH). Statoil and BP have carried out a comprehensive model test program on drilling riser in MARINTEK's Towing Tank in February 2015. The objective is to validate and verify software predictions of drilling riser behavior under various environmental conditions by the use of model test data. Six drilling riser configurations were tested, including different components such as upper flex joint (UFJ), tensioner, marine riser, lower marine riser package (LMRP), blow-out preventer (BOP), lower flex joint (LFJ), buoyancy elements, and seabed boundary model. The drilling riser models were tested in different load conditions. Measurements were made of microbending strains and accelerations along the riser in both in-line (IL) and crossflow (CF) directions. Video recordings were made both above and under water. In this paper, the test setup and test program are presented. Comparisons of results between model test and RIFLEX simulation are presented on selected cases. Preliminary results show that the drilling riser model tests are able to capture the typical dynamic responses observed from field measurement, and the comparison between model test and RIFLEX simulation is promising.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. 2017;140(1):011702-011702-11. doi:10.1115/1.4037538.

Slender offshore structures in deep water subjected to currents may experience vortex-induced vibrations (VIV), which can cause significant fatigue damage. Extensive experimental researches have been conducted to study the VIV in the past several decades. However, most of the experimental works have small-scale models and relatively low Reynolds number (Re)—“subcritical” or even lower Reynolds number regime. There is a lack of full understanding of the VIV in prototype Re flow regime. Applying the results with low Re to a full-scale riser with prototype Re might have uncertainties due to the scaling effects. In addition, the surface roughness of the riser is also an important parameter, especially in critical Re regime, which is the case for prototype risers. In the present study, two full-scale rigid riser models with different surface roughness ratios were tested in the towing tank of MARINTEK in 2014. Stationary tests, pure crossflow (CF) free oscillation tests, and forced/controlled motion tests were carried out. Several conclusions could be made: The drag coefficient is dependent on the Re number and surface roughness ratio. At critical and supercritical flow regimes, the displacement amplitude ratio is less sensitive to Re than that at lower Re. The displacement amplitude ratio in subcritical flow regime is significantly larger than that in critical and supercritical flow regimes. Two excitation regions for the ‘smooth riser’ and one excitation region for the “rough riser” are identified.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. 2017;140(1):011703-011703-9. doi:10.1115/1.4037842.

Flexible risers provide optimum solutions for deep water offshore fields. Reliable dynamic analysis of this kind of slender structure is crucial to ensure safety against long time fatigue failure. Beyond the effects from wave loads, the influence from transient internal slug flow on the slender structure dynamics should also be taken into account. In this study, two coupled in-house codes were used in order to identify and quantify the effects of an internal slug flow and wave loads on the flexible riser dynamics. One code carries out a global dynamic analysis of the slender structure displacements using a finite element formulation. The other program simulates the behavior of the internal slug flow using a finite volume method. The slug flow is influenced by the dynamic shape of the riser, while the time varying forces from internal slug flow plus external waves will influence the shape. Hence, a fully coupled analysis is needed in order to solve the coupled problem. By means of the distributed simulation, these two programs run synchronously and exchange information during the time integration process. A test case using hydrodynamic forces according to the linear Airy wave theory coupled with an internal unstable slug flow was analyzed and the results shown amplification of the dynamic response due to the interaction between the two load types, effects on the effective tension caused by the internal two-phase flow, and influence on the internal slug flow caused by the wave-induced response.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: CFD and VIV

J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. 2017;140(1):011801-011801-8. doi:10.1115/1.4037951.

Results of experimental and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) studies conducted to compare the flow-energy-attenuating performances of two different buoy configurations are presented. A finned-body was experimentally studied in two orientations—one with a splitter and one in a 22.5 deg yaw orientation (with no splitter). The finned-buoy is designed for both wave and current attenuation; however, only the current application is discussed here. Scaled models were subjected to wind tunnel testing and CFD analyses. For this study, the steady-state drag coefficient (CD) is considered to be the performance measure. The CFD model is used to match the physical testing by utilizing the k–ω turbulence model. Reynolds numbers (based on the tip-to-tip fin diameter) approaching the drag crisis are used to evaluate the bodies of interest, both of which have an aspect ratio (draft-to-diameter) of 1.85. The finned-bodies do encounter a drag crisis (as commonly seen with a cylinder), since the fins cause the buoys to act as a bluff body. The flow structures around the bodies are examined and compared to those predicted by established theories. For the finned-body, the 22.5 deg yaw orientation is found to have a consistently higher drag than the splitter orientation. The drag enhancement is explained by two phenomena. The first is a low-pressure area located in pockets adjacent to the upstream fins. The second is the absence of the drag-crisis, due to fixed separation points at the fin tips for all Reynolds numbers.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Ocean Renewable Energy

J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. 2017;140(1):011901-011901-11. doi:10.1115/1.4037696.

This paper presents our recent numerical simulations of a high-solidity Wells turbine under both steady and unsteady conditions by solving Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) equations. For steady conditions, the equations are solved in a reference frame with the same angular velocity of the turbine. Good agreement between numerical simulation result and experimental data has been obtained in the operational region and incipient stall conditions. The exact value of stall point has been accurately predicted. Through analyzing the detailed fluid fields, we find that the stall occurs near the tip of the blade while the boundary layer keeps attached near the hub, due to the effect of radial flow. For unsteady conditions, two types of control methods are studied: constant angular velocity and constant damping moment. For the constant angular velocity, the behaviors of the turbine under both high and low sea wave frequency are calculated to compare with those obtained by quasi-steady method. The hysteresis characteristic can be observed and deeply affects the behaviors of the Wells turbine with high wave frequency. For the constant damping moment, the turbine angular velocity is time dependent. Under sinusoidal flow, the incident flow velocity in the operational region can be improved to avoid the stall.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Offshore Geotechnics

J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. 2017;140(1):012001-012001-13. doi:10.1115/1.4037843.

With the application of innovative anchor concepts and advanced technologies in deepwater moorings, anchor behaviors in the seabed are becoming more complicated, such as 360 deg rotation of the anchor arm, gravity installation of anchors with high soil strain rate, and keying and diving (or penetration) of anchors. The anchor line connects the anchor and the anchor handling vessel (AHV) or floating moored platform. With moving of the AHV or platform, anchor line produces a space movement, and forms a reverse catenary shape and even a three-dimensional (3D) profile in the soil. Finite element analysis on the behaviors of anchor lines and deepwater anchors requires techniques that can deal with large strains and deformations of the soil, track changes in soil strength due to soil deformation, strain rate and strain softening effects, appropriately describe anchor–soil friction, and construct structures with connector elements to conform to their characteristics. This paper gives an overview of several key techniques in the coupled Eulerian–Lagrangian (CEL) analysis of comprehensive behaviors of deepwater anchors, including construction of the embedded anchor line and the anchor line in the water, installation of gravity installed anchors (GIAs), keying or diving of drag anchors, suction embedded plate anchors (SEPLAs) and GIAs, and implementation of the omni-directional arm of GIAs. Numerical probe tests and comparative studies are also presented to examine the robustness and accuracy of the proposed techniques. The aim of this paper is to provide an effective numerical framework to analyze the comprehensive behaviors of anchor lines and deepwater anchors.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Technical Brief

J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. 2017;140(1):014501-014501-10. doi:10.1115/1.4037828.

With the recent international economic downturn, most engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractors are incurring deficits in their floating, production, storage, and offloading unit (FPSO) projects. Numerous reasons underpin these situations. One of the most important reasons is the cost-estimation failure. The cost estimation is the key contractual point and mainly depends on a weight estimation of the FPSO topsides. Because the topsides contain a lot of equipment and complex structures, it is very difficult to make an estimation at the contractual stage. To overcome this problem, many methods have been proposed to estimate the weight of offshore topsides; however, most of the methods involve the top–down approach, making it difficult to obtain a sufficiently accurate prediction for field-work usage in terms of the weight estimation. Therefore, a work breakdown structure (WBS) for the performance of the weight-estimation process is proposed in this study. Using the WBS of the FPSO topsides, the corresponding presentation of the weight-estimation process makes the process usable in the field work regarding the WBS-item estimations. Accordingly, estimates of the detailed units (disciplines, modules, and areas) inside the topside that were previously not possible were performed. In addition, a prototype program was developed using the proposed method, and the applicability of the proposed method was evaluated through the application of three projects.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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