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Proceedings of the 35 International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Artic Engineering

June 19-24, 2016, Busan, South Korea




Csaba Pakozdi Anders stman

NO-7450, Trondheim, Norway Carl Trygve Stansberg
NO-7450, Trondheim, Norway

Ola Reum Christian Sorvaag

Stig Ovrebo Jon Ersland
Tone Vestbstad Aibel
Statoil NO-5527, Haugesund, Norway
NO-4035, Stavanger, Norway

ABSTRACT time, as well as computational costs, to an industrially

In order to provide qualitative and quantitative information acceptable level.
on the hydrodynamics loads during green water events on a Traditional load estimation is not able to provide such
module on the deck of a TLP in 10000-year conditions, reliable detailed local load history for structural design purpose
MARINTEK has carried out CFD simulations. This paper at areas exposed to wave impacts. Therefore, topside modules
presents extreme wave events and corresponding are currently not installed in such areas. This new procedure,
hydrodynamics loads on the module which can be directly where CFD simulates realistic breaking waves with coupling to
linked to the extreme events observed in model tests. This structural analysis tools, offers new possibilities for the design
means that the simulated extreme events can be related to a of structures subject to risk of green water loading.
probability of occurrence, found from the model test.
A prerequisite for the structural design is that reliable INTRODUCTION
estimates of hydrodynamic loads during a green water event Improved metocean data have lead to new insight into
can be made. Measured time series of waves from existing severe wave conditions for marine design [1]. This means that
model test data are compared with CFD generated synthetic the extreme environmental conditions may exceed the original
numerical waves. The selection of steep wave events are based design values for existing structures. In these incidents, a
on two physical parameters: the wave crest height and the rise platform may be confronted with green water if a wave crest
velocity (time derivative of the free surface elevation at a given hits the structures on the deck. The consequent impact load
location). These parameters are relevant for green water and could affect deck structures exposed to the waves. Green water
corresponding loads. The comparison of the measured free on deck is a complex hydrodynamic problem and simplified
surface elevation of the calibrated waves with the time series of engineering methods are not able to provide reliable local load
the numerical waves, as well as the measured and simulated histories for structural design purposes. However, an accurate
relative wave probes time series shows that the applied estimate of wave impact load is critical to structural assessment
numerical wave events have similar physical conditions as for a new design platform and is crucial for
those observed in the model test. reassessment/requalification as well as for extension of
In a new procedure developed by MARINTEK one available platforms with updated circumstances.
identifies observed steep wave events, which are similar to Todays hardware and software make it possible to
existing numerical wave events, instead of trying to reproduce reproduce a strongly non-linear, random and complex event due
measured events. This procedure reduces the computational to a regular wave for an offshore platform with complex

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geometry using the classical Computational fluid dynamics wave probes on the upwave side of the platform (probes 7-8-9-
(CFD) method NS-VOF [2] and [3]. 10-11, see Figure 1), have been selected from model tests.
However, if in reality the waves cannot be represented by the The corresponding underlying incident (undisturbed) irregular
Stokes 5th order wave, simulation with regular waves may not wave event elevation records were used as reference data for
be sufficient. In this case the question is not the quality of the comparison with the numerical waves. The assumption, that
CFD simulation but the conditions for which the simulation is numerical wave events define similar physical conditions as
performed. It was clearly shown by [4] and [5] that the largest waves events observed in the model test is based on two
loads on the platform were registered during extreme irregular physical parameters:
sea state experiments and not with regular waves. A
1) wave crest height
prerequisite for the structural design is that reliable estimates of
2) rise velocity (time derivative of the free surface
hydrodynamic loads during a green water event can be made.
elevation at a given location).
The reproduction of such extreme wave time series in a
simulation is a challenge due to the frequent wave breaking These are criteria that are relevant for green water and wave
during the propagation of the waves from the wave maker to impact loads. The relationship between wave kinematics and
the platform. loads can be explained using the Wagner theory where the
As it was shown in [6], the reproduction of such experimental slamming force depends on the change of the wetted area (rise
irregular extreme steep wave conditions (corresponding to a velocity), the duration of the impact (relative crest height) and
10-4 annual probability Torsethaugen type sea state with Hs = the local angle between free surface and the body surface.
20.7 m and Tp = 20.1s) using numerical wave tank cannot be Ideally, the water particle velocity could also be included
applied for industrial use due to the very high computational as a selection criterion, but such measurements are not
time and computational costs. available. It is reasonable to believe that the two criteria above
In this paper we present a new procedure, where CFD will also implicitly cover the velocity.
simulates realistic breaking waves, which can be directly linked Following the above procedure, eighteen steep wave events
to the extreme events observed in model tests. In the new with large crest heights are identified from recorded time series
procedure one identifies observed steep wave events, which are from the wave calibration tests. The main parameters of the sea
similar to existing numerical wave events, instead of trying to states, such as significant wave heights and peak periods as
reproduce measured events. This procedure reduces the well as the events main parameters: wave height, wave period
computational time, as well as computational costs, to an and crest height are presented in Table 1.
industrially acceptable level. This offers the possibility for the
design of structures subject to risk of green water loading. Event no. Test no. Time [s] Hs [m] Tp [s] T [s] H [m] Hcrest [m]
This new procedure is used in the design phase of a new
deck module, which will be placed on an existing TLP in order 1 3051 6606 14.5 13.0 11.0 31.0 18.0

to define characteristics loads for the accidental limit state. 2 3070 6668 17.5 15.5 11.5 27.0 17.0

3 3140 6660 18.8 17.0 12.5 34.0 21.2

4 3140 9580 18.8 17.0 16.0 33.0 20.0
A set of the largest green water events observed in the 5 3140 10080 18.8 17.0 17.0 34.4 23.6
10000-year sea state realizations, as measured by the relative 6 3180 2317 19.8 18.5 15.0 38.0 23.0

7 3240 1740 20.0 20.0 12.5 27.0 16.0

8 3240 1930 20.0 20.0 13.0 34.0 22.4

9 3240 4905 20.0 20.0 13.5 37.0 22.5

10 3340 6660 18.8 17.0 12.5 34.0 21.2

11 3340 10075 18.8 17.0 13.0 35.0 23.0

12 3620 1506 20.0 20.0 12.5 32.0 20.0

13 3620 5605 20.0 20.0 14.0 32.0 21.1

14 3630 1985 20.0 20.0 14.0 27.5 15.0

15 3650 4428 20.0 20.0 12.0 30.5 20.0

16 3660 9910 20.0 20.0 12.0 37.0 24.5

17 6560 1645 20.0 20.0 14.0 34.0 20.0

18 6560 9910 20.0 20.0 12.0 37.0 25.0

Figure 1 Relative-wave probe locations Table 1 Overview of the identified wave events

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Figure 3 The simplified CFD geometry
Figure 2 Coordinate system used in the numerical
final geometry model of the module and its location relative to
the TLP is shown in Figure 3.
The size of the computational domain with the TLP is
similar to the size of the calibration wave simulation 1400x450
The computational domain uses the global right handed
m. The width of the domain is set to 1400 m. The mesh
coordinate system Oxyz with the xy-plane on the still water level
structure of the simulations with the TLP is also similar as the
(SWL), the z-axis positive upwards, and the origin under the
mesh used for generation the waves (Figure 4). However, the
center of the deck structure (Figure 2). The direction of the
mesh has higher resolution around the platform in order to
incoming wave is given using WAMIT's convention (Figure 2).
represent correctly the geometry and to be able to catch
In this study the CFD-software STAR-CCM+ from CD-
correctly the impact physics (Figure 5). The number of the cells
adapco is used. The same numerical parameters are used in the
is about 9 millions without the refinement around the container
CFD simulations as presented in (stman, et al. 2015).
walls and about 10 millions with the refinement used in the
A quasi two dimensional grid with one layer of cells in the
mesh convergence study.
y direction is used for the calibration of the waves. The water
The impact force is calculated using the Star-CCM+
depth is 350 m as in the model test; the height of air domain is
"Force report" function. The fluid stress tensor (pressure and
100 m from the mean water level (MWL). The length of the
shear stresses) was integrated over the surfaces of the deck
domain is large enough to avoid unwanted reflection of the
structures to compute the impact load. The position of the
waves from the boundaries, 1400 m. This domain is only large
surfaces is presented in Figure 6, Figure 7 and Figure 8. The
enough for one green water event.
horizontal and vertical forces were calculated and saved for
The size of the mesh is adjusted to the wavelength.
each time steps.
According to the Cd-adapco recommendation it is necessary to
The free surface elevation is measured by monitoring the
use at least 120 cells per wavelength and 30 cells per wave
wetted length (VOF) along a vertically set numerical wave
height. The typical cell size close to the free surface is 4m in
probe (line). The positions of the numerical wave probes were
the longitudinal direction and 1m in the vertical direction. The
chosen to coincide with the wave probe used in the model tests
time step equals 0.004 s. This setup always gave a higher
spatial and temporal resolution than recommended for all wave
components. The number of cells is about 100 000 cells for the
simulation of the breaking wave. The applied mesh topologies
are shown in Figure 4.
In the CFD simulation the applied geometry model of the
TLP was identical with the simplified geometry used in the
experiments. The position of the platform is fixed during the
The geometry of the module also had to be somewhat
simplified for the CFD simulations. The criteria of the
simplification was to keep only the elements where one can
expect significant load due to wave impact and where supports
are able to transfer these loads into the main support frame. The Figure 4 Mesh topology of the whole numerical domain used
for the breaking wave simulations

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(Figure 1). The numerical wave probe (line) contained 1001
vertex and 1000 elements with 1 cm length. The first vertex is
50 m under the SWL of the numerical wave tank. The
summation of the product of the VOF value at the vertex and
the element length gives the wetted length. The wetted length is
saved at each time step.
The above presented CFD model is validated against
model tests using a moderate regular wave and comparing to
the relative wave records at relevant measuring locations using
forcing zone technics described in [3]. Due to the lack of space
the result of the validation is not shown in this paper but good
agreement between model test results and numerical results was Figure 6 The position of the surface where the vertical
observed, similar to results presented in the above mentioned integrated pressure forces are recorded


The numerical breaking wave event is a reproduction of a
breaking wave event, measured in the wave tank and presented
in [7]. In this paper the waves were generated in model scale
using a numerical wave maker.

Figure 7 The position of the surface where the horizontal

integrated pressure forces acting in y-direction are recorded

Figure 8 The position of the surface where the horizontal

integrated pressure forces acting in x-direction are recorded

In this study we reproduce the breaking event by a

combination of analytically defined regular waves in order to
reduce the computational time. The waves are scaled up
following Froude low in order to obtain similar crest height as
the largest measured crest height presented in Table 1. We ran
several simulations with different scaling factors in order to
identify the factor which gives the desired crest height.
The time series of the free surface elevation are recorded at
several positions during the breaking wave simulation, which
gives different time histories, in order to identify the "best
match" (Figure 9). The time series at different locations can be
interpreted as the platform is moved relative to the location of
the wave breaking which gives different green water events
illustrated in Figure 10.

Figure 5 Mesh topology with platform

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Figure 9 Time series of the wave probes at different locations

The next diagrams (in Figure 11) show, the best matches
between two subsets of selected measured events (no.: {3, 8,
10, 13} and {6, 9}) from Table 1 and the numerically simulated
wave at two different locations. The locations are given in
normalized distance where the normalization factor is the
diameter of the columns of the platform, i.e. xp = 2xD means
that the platform is moved with 2 diameters upstream from its
original position (see Figure 10). One cannot see perfect match
between the measured time series and the numerical time
series. However, the range of the differences is similar to the
variability that can be observed between the repetitions of the
same breaking wave events in the model test [8]. Based on this
observation we assume that the numerical match of the
measured wave events can be used in order to define the
similar, relevant physics of the green water event numerically
as one can observe in the model test.
The relative-wave levels from the measurements at
locations 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 (Figure 1) are compared to CFD
results in Figure 12, using the numerical waves from Figure 11. Figure 11 Examples of the best matches between measured
We have monitored the same locations as in model test for wave events and the numerical wave (red l.)
direct comparison (still, we need to recall that TLP motion is
not included in the simulation). We see that for probes no. 7 & model tests).
8 near the column H10, similar levels are simulated as in the In order to estimate the effect of the mesh resolution on the
measurements, and the time series shape are also more or less global forces one simulation of a green water event was
similar with some exceptions. Also for points no. 9 11 there restarted with a finer mesh around the module. The name and
are similar high levels as in the measurements, but the position of the surface which are used in the convergence
systematically somewhat lower (notice that 9 & 10 are in the studies are shown in Figure 13. The comparison of the curves is
shadow of the module, so the CFD results for those probes presented in Figure 14. We can see less difference (less than
must be expected to be somewhat truncated relative to the 10%) between the curves than observed for the time step
convergence study. One can see the same tendency at the local
pressure peaks show in Figure 15. The peak value is about 10
% larger with the finer mesh.
The global forces time series are recorded during
simulations with a time step of 4 ms. Restarting the simulation
before the green water event with a time step of 1 ms is used to
estimate the influence of the time step on the global forces. This
time step is 2.5 times smaller than the time step, which was
used in [3] where the numerically estimated local and global
slamming forces are successfully validated against model test.
One can see similar maximum water particle velocity during
Figure 10 Illustration of the relative location the impact in [3] as in the simulations presented in this paper.
Further, the size of the platforms is also similar. Therefore, we
assume that this time step is sufficient to capture the slamming
event. As one can see in Figure 16, the reduction of the time

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Figure 13 The name and the position of the surface where
the integrated pressure forces are recorded for the
convergence studies

Figure 14 Results of the mesh resolution convergence study

Figure 12 Measured vs. CFD relative-wave elevation time


step increases the peak value of the vertical force acting on

Floor 2 with about 20%. However, we can see a reduction of
the top value of the force acting in y-direction on Wall_1 and
no significant change on the force acting in x-direction on
Container_wall_1. Further, one can see high frequency
oscillation at the vertical force time series with reduced time
Figure 15 Comparison of the local pressure peak:
step which can be explained by the incompressible modelling
left diagram original mesh; right diagram refined mesh
of the air. Due to this oscillation it was decided not to reduce
around the container
the time step further.
Based on the results of the convergence studies it was used
time step of 1ms and the refined mesh in the CFD simulations
to generate the hydrodynamics load for the ABAQUS

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Geometry in the CFD model

Figure 16 Results of the time step convergence study

STRUCTURE ANALYSIS Geometry in the FEM model

The local pressure loads are transferred from the CFD
simulation to an ABAQUS model by means of importing an
ABAQUS input file and mapping the pressure in the CFD
simulation onto that input file. The input file contains the
ABAQUS structure mesh. The computed pressure acting on the
wall boundaries are interpolated onto the ABAQUS mesh, and
exported to a new input file which is used as input to ABAQUS
FEM simulations. Some of the geometric details which are
considered to have minor influence on the hydrodynamic load
are omitted in the CFD simulation, but included in the
ABAQUS setup, since the details are of importance in the
structural analysis. Some of the differences in the geometry
modeling in the CFD versus FEM model can be seen in Figure
17. In the FEM model, three separate load transfer plates are Figure 17 Comparison of geometry model in the CFD and
connected with the main frame through 16 support points. Each FEM simulations
of the load plates carry a separate module which are mounted
above each load plate. The modules are modelled as three
separated boxes as shown in Figure 18. The boundary
conditions applied in the FEM analysis are illustrated in Figure
The quasi-static structural analysis was performed for
different time instances during the green water event. The
choice of studied time instances was based on the computed
maximum integrated force acting on the platform structure. As
an example, the results from the structural response of the
maximum absolute vertical force for the location of the
platform 2 diameters upstream from its original position are
presented in the following. The time instance of this numerical
event corresponds to time t = t2 = 45.3s as shown in the time
history of integrated vertical load in Figure 20. At this time
instance, which occurs about 1.3 s after the numerical wave hits
the front wall of module1, the water is moving vertically
downwards (illustrated by means of velocity vectors in Figure
21). This creates a vortex and corresponding suction on the
bottom of the load plate supporting module 1 and is the reason
for the large negative vertical force at this time instance. The
free surface around the platform and pressure distribution at the
walls of the module is shown in Figure 22 and Figure 22,
respectively. The resulting load of this simulation can be seen
as typical structure load related to two of the measured events, Figure 18 FEM model of the modules, main frame and
CO3180 and CO3240 as shown in upper diagram of Figure 11. support points frame

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Figure 19 Boundary conditions in the FEM setup

The structural response by means of Von Mises stress and Figure 22 The free surface elevation around the platform
vertical displacement is illustrated in Figure 24 and Figure 25.
The computed reaction forces at the location of the module
support points and at the connection points, where the main
frame support structure is mounted to the existing top side were
exported and delivered to our industrial partner (Aibel) for
further analysis of constructional and design details of the main
frame support structure.

Figure 20 Time history of integrated vertical load acting on Figure 23 Pressure distribution at the walls of the module
the platform structure
In this paper a new procedure is presented where CFD
generated synthetic numerical waves can be directly linked to
the extreme events observed in model tests. This means that the
simulated extreme events can be related to a probability of
occurrence, found from the model test.
The procedure depends on existing model test data. But the
size of the module in model scale makes the experimental
measurement of the acting forces on the modules challenging or
impossible. This combination of CFD with experiments offers
new possibilities for the design of structures subject to risk of
green water loading.
The computational time of running one complete CFD
simulation with 50 seconds duration (solution time) is about 12
hours using 96 parallel processors (threads) on a cluster. In
Figure 21 Velocity vectors at a cut at the approximately order to generate the ABAQUS input files the CFD simulations
center of the module 1 platform structure are restarted just before the impact with smaller time step and
finer mesh. The duration of the restarted simulations is about 5

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Haver, "Wave Amplification and possible deck impact on
gravity based structure in 10-4 probability extreme crest
heights," in 23rd OMAE, 2004.
[5] J. Scharnke, T. Vestbstad, J. de Wilde and S. Haver,
"Wave-in-Deck Impact Load Measurements on a Fixed
Platform Deck," OMAE, San Francisco, California, USA,
[6] A. stman, C. Pakozdi, C. Stansberg, J. Fagertun and T.
Vestbostad, "CFD Simulation and Validation of Breaking
Wave Impact Events in Irregular Sea States," in The
Twenty-fifth (2015) International Ocean and Polar
Engineering Conference, USA, 2015.
[7] C. Pakozdi, T. E. Kendon and C. T. Stansberg, "Breaking
wave impcat on a platfrom column: an introductory CFD
study," in 30th International Conference on Ocean,
Figure 24 Von Mises stress at the support structure and Offshore and Arctic Engineering, 2011.
connection points [8] C. Pakozdi, J. Visscher, C. Stansberg and J. Fagertun,
"Experimental investigation of global wave impact loads in
steep random seas," in The Twenty-fifth (2015) International
Ocean and Polar Engineering Conference, USA, 2015.

Figure 25 Computed vertical displacement of support


seconds which demands about 4 hours computational time

which makes the presented methodology attractive for design

Statoil is gratefully acknowledged for the permission to
publish this paper.


[1] B. Buchner, Public Summary CresT JIP, 2010.

[2] B. Iwanowski, T. Vestbstad and M. Lefranc, "Wave-in-
deck load on a jacket platfrom, CFD calculations compared
with expriments," in 33rd OMAE, 2014.
[3] C. Pakozdi, M. Peric, H. Lu, R. Baarholm, A. Ostman and
C. Stansberg, "Estimation of Wave in Deck Load Using
CFD Validated Against Model Test Data," in The Twenty-
fifth (2015) International Ocean and Polar Engineering
Conference, USA, 2015.
[4] C. Stansberg, R. Baarholm, T. Fokk, O. Gudmestad and S.

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