Floating spar platforms are widely used in the Gulf of Mexico for oil production. The spar is a bluff, vertical cylinder which is subject to Vortex Induced Motions (VIM) when current velocities exceed a few knots. All spars to date have been constructed with helical strakes to mitigate VIM in order to reduce the loads on the risers and moorings. Model tests have indicated that the effectiveness of these strakes is influenced greatly by details of their design, by appurtenances placed on the outside of the hull and by current direction. At this time there is limited full scale data to validate the model test results and little understanding of the mechanisms at work in strake performance. The authors have been investigating the use of CFD as a means for predicting full scale VIM performance and for facilitating the design of spars for reduced VIM. This paper reports on the results of a study to benchmark the CFD results for a truss spar with a set of model experiments carried out in a towing tank. The focus is on the effect of current direction, reduced velocity and strake pitch on the VIM response. The tests were carried out on a 1:40 scale model of an actual truss spar design, and all computations were carried out at model scale. Future study will consider the effect of external appurtenances on the hull and scale-up to full scale Reynolds’ numbers on the results.

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