Several recent benchmark studies have demonstrated that Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is capable of capturing both nonlinear and viscous effects in offshore marine hydrodynamics and predicting well certain wave- and current-induced offshore platform motion. In order to apply CFD for practical global performance analysis of a complete hull-mooring-riser coupled floating system, we develop an advanced numerical wave basin that combines CFD, nonlinear irregular wave modeling, and finite-element mooring modeling. Specifically, CFD is used to simulate the violent free-surface flow with hull motions; nonlinear wave modeling is applied to generate a realistic wavefield and provide initial and far-field conditions to CFD for efficient long-duration simulation; and mooring modeling is two-way coupled with CFD to account for dynamic mooring response and its effects on hull motion. In this study, to demonstrate the capability of such tool, the global performance of a semi-submersible with 4 mooring lines in a 3-hour extreme sea state is simulated for both head and quartering sea. The simulation results are compared to model test data of hull motion, mooring line tension, and relative wave elevation around the hull for validation. It is shown with spectrum and statistics that the simulations predict well the platform’s global performance in all frequency ranges, including low frequency where the mooring lines have the greatest influence on the motion response. Compared to the predictions from a conventional global performance design tool that is based on diffraction analysis and empirical coefficients, the CFD results show significant improvements. The encouraging results from this study indicate that a CFD-based numerical wave basin, although still computationally expensive, is technically ready to be a complementary tool to physical wave basin for offshore platform global performance design.

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