Numerical and Experimental Characterization of Rotational Floating Body Drag


  • Bryson Robertson Oregon State UniversityPacific Marine Energy Center



Floating body, drag, scaled prototype, laboratory testing, numerical modelling


Hydrodynamic drag plays a significant role in the motions and response of floating bodies – whether it be a wave energy converter, floating wind structure, or offshore oil & gas platform. Existing literature provides significant overview of the methodologies (both experimental and numerical) to characterize translational drag, however, there is limited research on the contributions (and methods of application) for rotational drag.


This paper will detail both numerical modelling and a physical experimental campaign to assess how rotational drag impacts floating body dynamics, and best practices for numerical model inclusion. Specific focus will be on 1) the variety of methods used to input rotational drag into numerical models; 2) processes and lessons learnt from the experimental derivation of rotational drag coefficients; and 3) how does weakly non-linear wave stretching methods influence rotational drag.


The experimental campaign is currently underway to classify the significance of rotational drag coefficients in characterizing floating body behavior. Translational and rotational drag coefficients of a simplified, inertial property matched, 1:50 floating body is being determined through a series of calibration tests. Both traditional free decay tests and forced oscillation tests will be implemented to evaluate these coefficients across multiple degrees-of-freedom. The final paper will present an overview of the experimental campaign, the results and lesson learnt.


On the numerical side, the floating body will be modelled in the open-source wave energy converter modelling tool, WEC-Sim, and validated against the experimental results. Numerical results will be presented to review general body responses, with and without rotational drag, and generic wave conditions plus those expected at the PacWave wave energy test site in Oregon, USA.


The inclusion of rotational drag coefficients and weakly nonlinear hydrodynamics are expected to improve computational model results, especially in the nonlinear wave excitation range, providing a better understanding of floating body behavior.




How to Cite

B. Robertson, “Numerical and Experimental Characterization of Rotational Floating Body Drag”, Proc. EWTEC, vol. 15, Sep. 2023.

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