Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a potentially flexible and cost-effective approach to study the interaction of waves with offshore structures. However, extensive validation is required to determine whether CFD modelling can be used to complement or even replace a physical modelling approach. Ocean, Coastal, and River Engineering (OCRE) portfolio of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) previously conducted a series of physical hydraulic model tests to assist in designing an offshore Natural Gas processing platform to safely and optimally withstand extreme wave conditions forecasted for the deployment site. For three different wave headings (0°, 33° and 90°), the model was tested using a combination of long-crested regular and irregular waves as well as short-crest irregular waves for conditions associated with return periods up to 10,000 years. The model platform was tested in several different configurations, including the steel gravity sub-structure (SGS) alone, and also with various other components (such as superstructure consisting of solid or grated decks, and wave deflectors). A large quantity of high quality data on wave run-up, airgap, forces, moments, and pressures was obtained.
The present paper validates the OpenFOAM® CFD toolbox for use in numerical modelling of this wave-rigid structure interaction problem. The interaction of long-crested regular waves with the structure is modelled. Global forces, overturning moments, pressures, and water levels are compared with results from the physical model. The present CFD model successfully predicts a large majority of experimental results with a high level of accuracy and proves to be a viable option for the prediction of the interaction of extreme waves with offshore gravity-based structures.