A new type of wave tank: prototype and proof of concept
Keywords:hydrodynamics, physical modelling, tank testing, wave tank
The prototype and proof of concept of a new type of wave tank are described. If successful, this innovation would enable many wave tank experiments for only a few percent of current costs. Tank testing remains indispensable for new designs, and its high cost is a significant inhibitor of offshore innovation. To date, all wave tanks generate and propagate scaled but real water waves towards a physical model. This new type of tank instead reproduces the velocity field that such waves would have, but only near the model. In practice, this can be approximately achieved only for cases where the marine structure is much shorter than the wavelength, and its draft shallow compared to the wavelength and depth. In such cases the wavefield is time-varying but approximately spatially uniform near the structure. Therefore, it can be reproduced by moving a container of water like wave orbitals; and ensuring slosh modes are minimised. A prototype was built, and after initial challenges in controlling slosh excitation, a proof of concept was successfully achieved: a cylinder was excited by surge oscillations and its response appears consistent with rough calculations. Range of potential applications of the new type of wave tank, lessons learnt by prototyping, and next developments are discussed.
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