Two-dimensional (2D) numerical simulations have been performed to investigate both regular and irregular waves past a fixed horizontally semisubmerged circular cylinder. The 2D simulations are carried out by solving Navier–Stokes equations discretized by finite volume method. Volume of fluid (VOF) method is employed to capture the free surface in the numerical wave tank (NWT). Validation studies have been performed by comparing the numerical results of free surface waves past the cylinder with the published experimental and numerical data. The present numerical results are in good agreement with both the experimental and the other numerical results in terms of hydrodynamic forces and free surface elevation. Subsequently, the effects of the wave height and the wavelength on wave–structure interaction are investigated by conducting numerical simulations on the regular and the irregular waves past a semisubmerged cylinder at different wave heights and the wavelengths. The averaged and maximum vertical wave forces on the cylinder increase with the increasing wave height. The numerical results for the irregular waves are compared with those induced by the regular waves in terms of the maximum and averaged vertical wave forces. When the significant wave height and the spectral peak period of the irregular waves are equal to the wave height and the wave period of the regular waves, the maximum vertical wave force induced by the irregular waves is larger than that induced by the regular waves, meanwhile, the average vertical wave forces have the contrary relationship.

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