The newly constructed Tacoma Narrows Bridge Piers represent large concrete floating caissons during their construction. For designing their mooring system the current force applied on the caissons in the Narrows must be known. The flow field around the caisson is highly complex and the calculation of the current load on the caisson by analytical means is difficult. On the other hand, model tests suffer from the distortion in the Reynolds number. Therefore, a two-prong approach was undertaken. Besides the fixed model test of the caissons for current forces, a CFD analysis of the flow around the caisson is chosen. A 3-D CFD approach is considered more appropriate than a 2-D one, since the bottom contour at the site is irregular and water depth is rather shallow. This paper discusses the CFD method and the results obtained from such analysis. The numerical analysis was carried out in both ebb and flood flow of the tidal current in the basin. One of the difficulties of the computational method is very high Reynolds number encountered by the large current and large size of the caisson. The analysis was performed in both model and full scales so that the difference in the results may be investigated. Also, since the model test data was available, comparisons could be made between the CFD and model test results on the drag and lift forces on the caisson.

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