Highly Accurate Experimental Heave Decay Tests with a Floating Sphere: A Public Benchmark Dataset for Model Validation of Fluid–Structure Interaction

Morten Bech Kramer*, Jacob Andersen, Sarah Thomas, Flemming Buus Bendixen, Harry Bingham, Robert Read, Nikolaj Holk, Edward Ransley, Scott Brown, Yi-Hsiang Yu, Thanh Toan Tran, Josh Davidson, Csaba Horvath, Carl-Erik Janson, Kim Nielsen, Claes Eskilsson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    156 Downloads (Pure)


    Highly accurate and precise heave decay tests on a sphere with a diameter of 300 mm were completed in a meticulously designed test setup in the wave basin in the Ocean and Coastal Engineering Laboratory at Aalborg University, Denmark. The tests were dedicated to providing a rigorous benchmark dataset for numerical model validation. The sphere was ballasted to half submergence, thereby floating with the waterline at the equator when at rest in calm water. Heave decay tests were conducted, wherein the sphere was held stationary and dropped from three drop heights: a small drop height, which can be considered a linear case, a moderately nonlinear case, and a highly nonlinear case with a drop height from a position where the whole sphere was initially above the water. The precision of the heave decay time series was calculated from random and systematic standard uncertainties. At a 95% confidence level, uncertainties were found to be very low—on average only about 0.3% of the respective drop heights. Physical parameters of the test setup and associated uncertainties were quantified. A test case was formulated that closely represents the physical tests, enabling the reader to do his/her own numerical tests. The paper includes a comparison of the physical test results to the results from several independent numerical models based on linear potential flow, fully nonlinear potential flow, and the Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) equations. A high correlation between physical and numerical test results is shown. The physical test results are very suitable for numerical model validation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number269
    Issue number2
    Number of pages36
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright: © 2021 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:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/).


    • Physical tests
    • Sphere
    • Benchmark dataset
    • Heave decay
    • Wave energy converters
    • Linear potential flow
    • Fully nonlinear potential flow
    • CFD
    • RANS
    • Fluid–structure interaction


    Dive into the research topics of 'Highly Accurate Experimental Heave Decay Tests with a Floating Sphere: A Public Benchmark Dataset for Model Validation of Fluid–Structure Interaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this