Effects of roughness on hydrodynamic characteristics of a submerged floating tunnel subject to steady currents

P. X. Zou, N. Ruiter, J. D. Bricker*, W. S.J. Uijttewaal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The effects of surface roughness as induced by marine fouling on the hydrodynamic forces on a submerged floating tunnel (SFT) are experimentally and numerically investigated in detail at Reynolds numbers Re = 8.125 × 103–5.25 × 104. A sensitivity analysis to different roughness parameters including roughness height, skewness, coverage ratio, and spatial arrangement is performed. In addition, an optimized parametric cross-section for an SFT is proposed, and the hydrodynamic performance of the parametric shape and circular SFT cross-section shape with roughness elements is compared. The pressure distribution along the SFT, flow separation and wake characteristics are analyzed to provide a systematic insight into the fundamental mechanism relating the roughness parameters and flow around an SFT. In order to better understand the nonlinear relationships among structural geometry, roughness parameters, flow states, and structural response, an artificial intelligence method using Random Forest (RF) for feature importance ranking is applied. The results show that with the parametric shape, the hydrodynamic forces on the fouled SFT can be effectively mitigated. The roughness height and coverage ratio affect the equivalent blockage and hence, change flow separation and recirculation length in the wake. Lower skewness of the roughness elements can increase the critical Re by changing the relative roughness parameter. Horizontal arrangement of the roughness elements on an SFT generally results in the largest hydrodynamic forces, compared to staggered and vertical distributions. Throughout the feature importance ranking, the flow regime is found to be the most important feature of the hydrodynamics of the SFT. In addition, the SFT cross-section shape and roughness coverage ratio play a dominant role.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103405
JournalMarine Structures
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • CFD
  • Feature importance
  • Hydrodynamic forces
  • Marine fouling
  • Roughness parameters


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