The flow around free-surface piercing, low aspect-ratio circular cylinder is investigated by means of unsteady Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) calculations together with verification procedures and comparison with small-scale experimental and Particle Image Velocimetry results. A two-phase interface capturing model is used to handle the free-surface flow, together with k-ω SST turbulence model. We investigate physical and modeling aspects of this problem in order to gain more knowledge about the interaction of free-surface and free-end effects so that this mechanism is better understood and taken into account when modeling the problem in engineering-applied situations, such as the vortex induced motion of spars, tension-leg platforms and semi-submersibles.

The case herein presented is a captive, low aspect-ratio cylinder (L/D = 2.0) with flow velocity corresponding to Reynolds and Froude numbers (both based on diameter) of Re = 4.3 × 104 and FnD = 0.31, respectively. We will show that appreciable free-surface effects are perceived on the flow, but with dominance of free-end effects, at least in terms of forces. Furthermore, we investigate different boundary conditions that would represent this free-surface problem to show that the separation of viscous and free-surface effects is not valid in this instance. Therefore, the interaction between viscous and free-surface effects is also tangentially investigated. In order to support our conclusions, we will show forces with uncertainty estimation and field variables obtained with different modeling strategies, unveiling physical and numerical aspects of this problem.

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