The wave-induced responses in the bridge girder of long floating bridges supported by pontoons are often dominated by the vertical modes, coupled horizontal modes and rotational modes about the longitudinal axis of the bridge girder. Pontoons with and without bottom flanges have been seen in recent floating bridge designs. Viscous flow separation around the sharp edges of the pontoon or the bottom flange may have strong influences on the hydrodynamic performance of the pontoon in terms of wave excitation, added mass and damping effects. Morison-type wave and current loads are normally included empirically in the early design phases to account for the viscous effects that cannot be covered by a potential-flow solution alone. Empirical drag coefficients and perhaps a correction to the potential-flow added mass are the inputs to such numerical models, which represents a part of the modelling uncertainties. Previous sensitivity studies using different drag coefficients in the ongoing Bjørnafjord floating bridge project in Norway indicate an influence up to 15% on the maximum vertical bending moment around the weak axis of the bridge girder.

This paper contributes to the understanding of viscous effects on the hydrodynamic characteristics, e.g. the added mass, damping and wave excitation loads, of a floating bridge pontoon with and without keel plate. This is achieved by exploring existing model tests for floating bridge pontoons, performing 2D Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) analysis for pontoon cross sections and numerical calibration in a simplified frequency-domain model with linearized drag loads. Scale effects are also investigated through CFD analyses in model and full scales.

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