The estimation of the motion response of a floating semi-submersible type offshore platform for a desalination plant, of capacity 10 million litres per day (MLD) of fresh water, is the focus of the study. The platform needs station keeping by a mooring system using a spar moored in deep water. To cater to these requirements, several design configurations of the semi-submersible were tried out for their hydrodynamic performance in order to choose the best among them, in all cases keeping the cost of components at reasonable levels. The hydrodynamic analysis of the platforms was carried out using the software WAMIT. The natural heave period was the main criterion in finalizing the configuration of the semi-submersible because it has greatest impact on keeping the downtime of platform operation to a minimum. WAMIT yields unrealistically high RAO that is attributed to the effect of viscous damping not being incorporated in the analysis. Experimental investigation was carried out to find the viscous damping coefficient of the configuration of the semi-submersible that was finally chosen among a few alternatives. A 1:50 scale model was tested in the 4m flume at the Department of Ocean Engineering, I.I.T Madras. Free oscillation tests were carried out to find the damping coefficient and natural heave period. Use of experimentally obtained damping values in WAMIT yielded excellent comparison with experimentally obtained response values (RAOs). On the basis of the present work, configuration of a semi-submersible having six rectangular columns and two rectangular pontoons has been finalized for the desalination plant.

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