The O-tube facility, designed and established at the University of Western Australia, is an innovative closed loop flume in which a random storm sequence can be reproduced via control of a large pump system. The O-tube facility is capable of simulating hydrodynamic conditions near the seabed and the interaction with seabed sediment and any infrastructure that is resting on it.
The purpose of carrying out the O-tube calibration described in this paper is to obtain the relationship between the motor rotation movement and the flow velocity generated in the O-tube, such that any required storm history within the performance envelope of the O-tube can be reproduced. A range of flow velocities and the corresponding pump speeds were measured under steady current, oscillatory flow and combined flow conditions. It was found that the relationship between the pump speed and the flow velocity varies with the oscillatory flow period. Based on the pump characteristic curves and O-tube system curves, the correlation between the motor speed and the flow velocity was derived by applying hydraulic theory and the principle of energy conservation.
The derived correlation is validated by reproducing a wide range of target storm series, including a (1:5.8) scaled 100-year return period storm from the North West Shelf of Western Australia in 40 m water depth.