Experimental investigation of the wave-induced motion of and force distribution along a flexible stem

Niels G. Jacobsen, Wout Bakker, Wim S.J. Uijttewaal, Rob Uittenbogaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


The work presents an experimental investigation into the motion of and hydrodynamic forces along a single flexible stem in regular waves. The experiment covers a large range in relevant non-dimensional parameters: the drag-to-stiffness ratio, the inertia-to-stiffness ratio, the Keulegan-Carpenter number and the Reynolds number. The two first parameters relate to the response of the stem in waves and thus account for material properties, while the two last parameters are relevant for hydrodynamic forces on the stem. The displacement of the stem was captured with a digital video camera and the displacement along the stem was captured for every 2.5 mm at 25 Hz. This unique laboratory data set allowed for the following analyses: (i) Determination of the relevant non-dimensional parameter to predict the stem motion and shape. (ii) A direct comparison between the measured force for mimics of two lengths (0.15 m and 0.30 m) illustrating the force reduction potential for flexible mimics. (iii) Direct evaluation of the average force coefficients (drag) and (inertia) for the flexible stems. (iv) The distributed external hydrodynamic loading and the internal shear forces were estimated from the laboratory experiments. The distribution of the shear force helped to understand the breakage mechanisms of flexible stems. (v) A linkage between phase lags and internal shear forces was suggested. The data set is considered valuable as validation material for numerical models of stem motion in waves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1036-1069
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • coastal engineering
  • wave-structure interactions

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