An extension of the classical Wheeler’s method is here presented and validated. Just as the Wheeler’s method, it relies solely on the measurement of surface elevation in a point to make predictions of the wave induced loads.

These measurements may be made in the field, but more often they will be generated in a laboratory wave basin. The classical Wheeler stretching plus Morison load model is augmented by a slamming load model for steep near-breaking and breaking waves, based on work published earlier by Nestegård (2004). The new model thereby spans the entire range from non-breaking waves to severely breaking overturning waves with a gradual transition. The model has been validated against surface elevations and wave loads measured in a laboratory wave tank and is found to reproduce wave load distributions over a range of sea state conditions well.

Examples are given for typical design sea state conditions for offshore wind turbines at exposed locations in Northern Europe. The loads are compared to loads obtained using the stream function wave theory in combination with the Morison’s equation. The stream function wave theory loads are found to generally be lower than the loads predicted using the simple wave load model presented here. This is the case even for mildly non-linear non-breaking waves but becomes much more pronounced for steep near-breaking and breaking waves. Another striking feature of the comparison to regular wave theory is the different distribution of loads. The stream function loads below still water level are often higher than the loads from the simple model, but much lower than the simple load model loads above still water level.

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