Vortex Induced Motion (VIM) of multi-column floating platforms, such as Tension Leg Platform (TLP) and semi-submersible (SEMI), in current is well-acknowledged. Substantial VIM response of the multi-column floating platform may cause fatigue failure of mooring and riser systems, which can affect the normal operation of the platform.
The present paper focuses on the numerical investigation on VIM of a TLP with circular columns using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Sensitivity analyses (e.g., mesh size, the number of prism layers and time-step size) for the VIM responses of the TLP are conducted. The effects of the current heading and mooring stiffness on the VIM are investigated. The three degrees of freedom VIM responses (in-line, transverse and yaw responses) and corresponding amplitude spectra are computed and analyzed. Motion trajectories are plotted to understand the VIM behaviors. Regarding the effect of the current heading, the largest transverse response is examined at 15° current heading and the corresponding maximum nominal amplitude is around 0.43. The difference of the maximum nominal amplitudes between the cases at 0° and 15° current headings is less than 5%. For 15°, 30° and 45° current headings, the nominal transverse amplitudes decrease as the current heading increases in the lock-in range. For the four studied current headings, the maximum width of the lock-in range is found at 0° current heading and narrows as the current incidence increases. The largest yaw response is observed at 0° current heading and the maximum nominal amplitude is around 9.1°. Regarding the effect of the mooring stiffness, the lock-in ranges and the maximum nominal amplitudes of the transverse motions have little difference for the four mooring stiffnesses. The maximum nominal transverse and yaw responses are around 0.25 and 5.1°, respectively, which occur when the mooring stiffness reaches the maximum. The flow pattern analyses indicate that the flow interference between the upstream and downstream columns may have significant effects on the VIM responses and a stronger interference at the present spacing ratio may lead to a larger VIM response. The contours of the vertical vorticity in the horizontal plane show that the mean positions of the flow separation points are always on highest or lowest (in the transverse direction perpendicular to the current heading) points of the columns, which is the reason that the VIM trajectories for the TLP with circular columns are always along the direction perpendicular to the current heading.