In the recent years, the floating offshore wind industry has developed quickly and most authors are now converging towards the need of a coupled loads analysis using aero-hydro-servo-elastic software on time domain simulations for floating foundations design. Different hydrodynamic theories still exist and their application depends on the floating platform characteristics. The Morison equation and the boundary element method (BEM, not to be confused with the Blade Element Momentum theory) theory approaches are often used in combination on the same platform model, sometimes applied to different elements of the same structure depending on their shape.
When using the potential flow theory approach calculating internal distributed loads and later on transferring them to stress for hull design purposes is still a challenge due to the large ammount of load cases needed and the complexity of the structure. Furthermore, accounting for platform flexibility is also difficult in most codes using BEM theory due to the same reasons. Different approaches have been proposed by different authors, and currently there is not a single best industry practice for this.
This paper presents a method for accounting for platform flexibility when using BEM theory. A range of methods for the load to stress transfer are also presented and the advantages and disadvantages between them are discussed. The choice of one or another method will depend heavily on the platform structure, and different methods might be used and combined for the same platform depending on the shape of the different elements within it.
The different methods presented here involve performing coupled loads analysis using the aero-elastic software Bladed and multiple bodies to represent the floating platform in order to obtain internal loads at different points in the structure, as well as allowing for platform flexiblity modelling. Bladed can model multiple hydrodynamic bodies including the hydrodynamic effects between (e.g. coupled terms in the radiation force). The approach used in the current study is based on a platform modelled with the hydrodynamic loading distributed over independent sections, but originally computed from a single body BEM calculation. This simplification offers significant gains in computational efficiency and is expected to be valid for many types of floating structure, whist still allowing for some platform flexiblity to be modelled.
The simulation resultant time series can later on be postprocessed to obtain distributed pressure forces on the platform wetted surface and transfer those onto a Finite Element code. Different options are presented here on how to perform this last step for both extreme and fatigue analysis of the hull structure. A couple of examples are shown using the OC3 spar and OC4 semisubmersible, focusing on a subsection of the structures to demonstrate the methodology.