A generalized weak-scatterer approximation for nonlinear wave–structure interaction in marine hydrodynamics

Chao Tong, Yanlin Shao*, Harry B. Bingham, Finn-Christian W. Hanssen

*Corresponding author for this work

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In this paper, a generalized weak-scatterer (GWS) approximation is proposed for solving nonlinear wave–structure interaction problems. In contrast to the original weak-scatterer (OWS) theory, where the approximated free surface boundary conditions (FSBCs) are Taylor-expanded in the vertical direction from the incident wave surface, we apply Taylor series expansion in an arbitrary direction which, in particular, is tangential to the boundary of the floating structure close to the waterline. This leads to generalized kinematic and dynamic FSBCs for the radiated and scattered waves, along with corresponding expressions of the wave loads. Accordingly, an Arbitrary Lagrangian–Eulerian (ALE) approach is adopted to track the free-surface properties. The new GWS method is more consistent than the OWS model in that the wave markers do not separate from the body surface at the waterline for structures with flare. An Immersed- Boundary Adaptive Harmonic Polynomial Cell (IB-AHPC) method is implemented to solve the corresponding boundary value problems (BVPs) for both the velocity potential and the Lagrangian acceleration potential at each time step. The new formulation introduces additional convective terms in the FSBCs, making them similar to the seakeeping problems for ships with forward speed, and this requires special treatment to avoid instability in the time-domain simulations. Based on a matrix-based eigenvalue stability analysis, we illustrate that stable solutions can be achieved by introducing an upwind-biased scheme to discretize the convective terms in the kinematic FSBC. The proposed model is verified by three wave diffraction problems in regular waves, including a submerged circular cylinder, a rounded-corner rectangular ship section, and a trapezoidal section with a large flare angle.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103292
JournalMarine Structures
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Generalized weak-scatterer approximation
  • Adaptive harmonic polynomial cell method
  • Potential flow
  • Immersed boundary method
  • Stability analysis
  • Nonlinear wave-body interaction


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