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Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


We examined the heave motion of a spherical buoy during a free-decay drop test. A comprehensive approach was adopted to study the oscillations of the buoy involving experimental measurements and complementary numerical simulations. The experiments were performed in a wave tank equipped with an array of high-speed motion-capture cameras and a set of high-precision wave gauges. The simulations included three sets of calculations with varying levels of sophistication. Specifically, in one set, the volume-of-fluid (VOF) method was used to solve the incompressible, two-phase, Navier–Stokes equations on an overset grid, whereas the calculations in other sets were based on Cummins and mass-spring-damper models that are both rooted in the linear potential flow theory. Excellent agreements were observed between the experimental data and the results of VOF simulations. Although less accurate, the predictions of the two reduced-order models were found to be quite credible, too. Regarding the motion of the buoy, the obtained results indicate that, after being released from a height approximately equal to its draft at static equilibrium (which is about 60% of its radius), the buoy underwent nearly harmonic damped oscillations. The conducted analysis reveals that the draft length of the buoy has a profound effect on the frequency and attenuation rate of the oscillations. For example, compared to a spherical buoy of the same size that is half submerged at equilibrium (i.e., the draft is equal to the radius), the tested buoy oscillated with a period that was roughly 20% shorter, and its amplitude of oscillations decayed almost twice faster per period. Overall, the presented study provides additional insights into the motion response of a floating sphere that can be used for optimal buoy design for energy extraction.

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© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/). Publisher’s version of record:

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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