Abstract

An experimental campaign for the flow around a stationary array of three and four columns with low aspect ratio, H/L = 1.5, piercing the water free surface, was carried out in a towing tank. These numbers of columns correspond to typical multi-column offshore systems, such as semi-submersibles (SS), tension leg platforms (TLPs), and floating offshore wind turbines (FOWTs). Three parameters were investigated: the spacing ratio between column centers (from two up to four characteristic lengths), current incidence angles, and column section geometries (circular, square, and diamond). The Reynolds number of the experiments was 100,000. Forces were measured in each column using a three degrees-of-freedom load cell, and results of lift and drag forces were presented for each column separately and the whole system. The results of mean and standard deviation of forces were assessed using a statistical uncertainty analysis procedure for finite length measurements’ signals. This methodology not only assesses the quality of the experimental data but also facilitates validation of numerical tools. The objectives of the current work were therefore manifold: to better understand the influence of the relative position, shape, and incidence angle on multi-column offshore structures; to create a reliable database for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) validation; and to prepare the path to flow-induced motions (FIMs) experimental and numerical work of free-moving multi-column offshore systems.

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