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Evaluation of Wind Loads on FPSO Topsides Using a Numerical Wind Tunnel

[+] Author Affiliations
Daniel Barcarolo, Yann Andrillon, Erwan Jacquin

HydrOcean, Nantes, France

Alain Ledoux

TOTAL, Paris, France

Paper No. OMAE2016-54346, pp. V002T08A006; 8 pages
  • ASME 2016 35th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 2: CFD and VIV
  • Busan, South Korea, June 19–24, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4993-4
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


The accurate evaluation of wind loads applied on floating offshore structures is extremely important as they are in specific conditions one of the dimensioning criteria for the mooring design. Nowadays these loads are mainly assessed through wind tunnel tests performed at model scale. Estimating realistic wind loads however, remains a big challenge. The complexity and associated simplification level of FPSO topside structures, the scale effects and the establishment of the atmospheric boundary layer imply that many simplifications are to be made. Typically, the FPSO topside is greatly simplified and equivalent blocs of wired frame are used. Today with the evolution of CFD software, and the increase of the meshing capacity, new scopes open to CFD. Aerodynamic simulations on complex FPSO structures are therefore now possible, but need specific developments and validations that are presented in this paper.

The main objective of the work presented is to investigate the ability of CFD to evaluate wind loads on complex FPSOs topsides and to provide information on the impact of model simplifications made in wind tunnels. In a first stage, the numerical model was intensively validated by comparing its results to a wind tunnel test case. The numerical model was developed in order to ensure the quality of the results and enable a relevant comparison that was obtained with grids density up to 30 million cells. For this purpose, the geometric model used corresponds to the one used in wind tunnel. The same Atmospheric Boundary Layer was simulated and a thorough effort was performed to ensure the mesh convergence. In a second stage, more physical aspects of the wind tunnel methodology were investigated. Typically the accuracy of the blockage effect correction was evaluated by performing computations with and without blockage, and results were compared with classical corrections applied in wind tunnel. The impacts of the Atmospheric Boundary Layer on wind loads have also been investigated. Finally, the wind load contribution of each component of the FPSO was evaluated.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
Topics: Stress , FPSO , Wind , Wind tunnels



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