During tests in MARIN’s wave basins, it was observed that large-scale current patterns may develop under the influence of wave generation and absorption. The velocity of these currents is very low, so they generally do not influence the behaviour of models. However, for specific experiments at low speeds — wave added resistance tests with small models or current drag tests — a residual current may influence the results significantly. A good understanding of the residual circulation in a wave basin is essential to improve the quality of the tests performed. The wave-induced current patterns were observed during tests in MARIN’s Seakeeping and Manoeuvring Basin (SMB). The patterns may develop in several ways under the influence of waves in a basin. End effects of Stokes drift (mass transport due to second-order wave effects) can play a role, as the water has to return at the end of the basin. The SMB has the capability to generate oblique waves. It therefore has a wave-damping beach along two sides of the basin. Similar to ‘real’ beaches, they may cause alongshore currents and rip currents under the influence of oblique and perpendicular waves respectively. During the tests, floaters in the form of oranges were distributed in the basin after wave generation. They were tracked using a camera system. The images were processed such that the surface current patterns in the basin were visualized, and an estimate of the velocities was obtained. Additional local acoustic current meter measurements were used to check the order of magnitude of these velocities. Based on these tests, it was concluded that different patterns may occur in the basin, with the largest velocities after oblique wave generation. Typical surface velocities are in the order of 1 to 2 cm/s, non-uniformly distributed over the basin. Due to this non-uniformity and because decay is slow (memory effects), very sensitive added resistance and current drag tests may have to be corrected for a measured current velocity in the future.
Sanne van Essen
Senior Project Manager
stability, seakeeping and ocean engineeringwaves, impacts and hydrostructuralmeasurements and controldata sciencemodel testingwaves & motionscurrentadded resistance