Safety of cargo transfer operations between side-by-side vessels depends on accurate modelling of hydrodynamic behavior, especially in terms of predicting the gap free surface elevations between the two vessels. The common industry practice of using linear potential flow models to study these interactions over-predicts the free surface elevations, due to the fact that potential flow does not include viscous dissipation effects such as flow separation at hull corners and skin friction. This may result in inaccurate projections of the time-window when these operations can safely take place. This is an important aspect for developments such as Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) platforms, where side-by-side cargo offloading is an essential operation.

In a recent research [1], an approach of splitting the amount of energy lost through viscous dissipation (calculated from three-dimensional viscous CFD simulations) into components representative of the flow phenomena has been proposed. Using the approach, referred to as component energy dissipation, the amount of energy lost due to vortex shedding and skin friction can be estimated. Modifications to linear potential flow were also proposed in the referenced research, such that the energy loss components can be converted into dissipative coefficients that are used in terms added to the free surface and body boundary conditions. By combining use of the component energy dissipation approach and the modified dissipative potential flow model, better predictions of gap hydrodynamic interaction can be obtained, compared to using conventional potential flow.

In this paper, results from viscous simulations of two identical fixed-floating side-by-side barges of 280m (length) × 46m (breadth) × 16.5m (draught) under excitation from regular incident waves are presented, and compared with corresponding results from the modified dissipative potential flow model. Two types of side-by-side hull configurations were investigated, the first using rectangular barges with sharp bilge corners at varying gap distances and the second using barges with rounded bilge corners of varying radii at a fixed gap distance. Estimation of the dissipative coefficients used in the modified potential flow model, calculated from the viscous results, will also be discussed. The comparison of results serves both as a validation of the modified potential flow model, and to highlight the importance of including viscous dissipation when analyzing hydrodynamic interactions.

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