Vortex Induced Motions (VIM) of semi-submersibles occur when the vortex shedding frequency is close to the natural frequency of the semi-submersible in the direction transverse to the current. Recent studies suggest that the magnitude of VIM predicted during model tests is higher than that observed in the field. Among others, the damping effect provided by the risers and mooring lines is regarded as one of the reasons for this difference. In this paper the setup and results are presented for model tests to investigate the influence of damping on VIM.
For these model tests an active damping system was developed, which introduces an actively controlled external force mimicking a damping force. This applied damping force is based on the floater sway motion and sway velocity. With this system the introduced damping level can easily be controlled and verified without changing the stiffness of the system. In this paper the advantages and disadvantages of this active damping system are presented.
The VIM tests were conducted for two semi-submersibles: a paired-column semi with eight columns and a four column semi. Reduced velocities ranged from Ur=3 to Ur=10 and different levels of additional linear damping were applied to the floaters in the direction transverse to the current direction. Damping was found to reduce the VIM motions significantly: reductions of more than 60% were observed in the nominal A/D response for 25% equivalent linear damping. This indicates that damping has a significant effect on the global VIM response and thus should be considered in the design phase of the risers and mooring lines of the semi-submersibles.
To improve the understanding of the driving mechanism of VIM and also to provide validation data for CFD analyses, forces were measured on each column of the four column semi. Column force measurements indicate that for the four column semi for 45 degrees heading, i.e. the heading with largest VIM responses, the upstream, the portside and the starboard side columns are exciting the VIM motions. For 22.5 degrees, the downstream, the portside and the starboard side columns excite the VIM motions. For all tested headings the pontoon always damps the VIM response.