CFD-Based Study of Steep Irregular Waves for Extreme Wave Spectra

Aggarwal, Ankit (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) | Chella, Mayilvahanan Alagan (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) | Bihs, Hans (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) | Pákzodi, Csaba (SINTEF Ocean) | Berthelsen, Petter Andreas (SINTEF Ocean) | Arntsen, Øivind A. (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)


Offshore structures are exposed to irregular sea states consisting of breaking and nonbreaking waves. They perpetually experience extreme wave loads after installation in the open ocean. Thus, the study of steep waves is an important factor in the design of offshore structures. In the present study, a numerical investigation is performed to study steep irregular waves in deep water. The irregular waves are generated using the Torsethaugen spectrum, which is a double-peaked spectrum defined for a locally fully developed sea and which takes both the sea and swell waves into account. Thus, the generated waves can be very steep. The numerical investigation of such steep waves is quite challenging because of their high wave steepness and wave–wave interaction. The present investigation is performed using the open-source computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model. The wave generation and propagation of steep irregular waves in the numerical model are validated by comparing the numerical wave spectrum with the experimental input wave spectrum. The numerical results are in good agreement with experimental results. The changes in the spectral wave density during the wave propagation are studied. Further, the double-hinged flap wavemaker is also tested and validated by comparing the numerical and experimental free-surface elevations over time. The time and the frequency domain analysis is also performed to investigate the changes in the free-surface horizontal velocity. Complex flow features during the wave propagation are well captured by the CFD model.


Offshore wind turbines are exposed to extreme irregular sea states. Extreme waves exert extreme hydrodynamic loads on substructures. Thus, the study of such irregular waves is very important in the design of offshore wind turbines. Several experimental and field investigations have been performed in the past to study extreme waves. Such spectra exhibit two peaks, because of the presence of swell and wind waves. Ochi and Hubble (1976) carried out a statistical analysis of 800 measured wave spectra in the North Atlantic Ocean. They derived a six-parameter double-peaked spectrum that is composed of two parts: the first primarily includes the low-frequency wave components and the second contains the high-frequency wave components. Each part of the wave spectrum is represented by three parameters. The six-parameter spectrum represents almost all stages of the sea conditions associated with a storm. Guedes Soares and Nolasco (1992) analyzed wave data from the North Atlantic and the North Sea and proposed a four-parameter double-peaked spectrum. This double-peaked spectrum was formulated by superimposing individual spectral components of the JONSWAP-type single-peaked spectrum.