William Finnegan and Jamie Goggins – Key Engineering Materials, July 2013
A vital aspect of ensuring the cost effectiveness of wave energy converters (WECs) is being able to monitor their performance remotely through structural health monitoring, as these devices are deployed in very harsh environments in terms of both accessibility and potential damage to the devices. The WECs are monitored through the use of measuring equipment, which is strategically placed on the device. This measured data is then compared to the output from a numerical model of the WEC under the same ocean wave conditions. Any deviations would suggest that there are problems or issues with the WEC. The development of accurate and effective numerical models is necessary to minimise the number of times the visual, or physical, inspection of a deployed WEC is required. In this paper, a numerical wave tank model is, first, validated by comparing the waves generated to those generated experimentally using the wave flume located at the National University of Ireland, Galway. This model is then extended so it is suitable for generating real ocean waves. A wave record observed at the Atlantic marine energy test site has been replicated in the model to a high level of accuracy. A rectangular floating prism is then introduced into the model in order to explore wave-structure interaction. The dynamic response of the structure is compared to a simple analytical solution and found to be in good agreement.