Modelling air compressibility in OWC devices with deformable air chambers

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Benreguig, Pierre
Murphy, Jimmy
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Air compressibility effects play an important role in large-scale Oscillating Water Column (OWC) wave energy converters. Air compressibility is however not scalable with Froude similarity law. An existing scaling method enables correctly reproducing the air compressibility at the model scale, but its implementation is effortful and becomes cumbersome for floating devices and tests at relatively large scales (1/15th–1/2th). Air compressibility is therefore commonly ignored in model-scale tank testing of conventional OWC devices, which can lead to substantially unrealistic results on the device performance relative to the full-scale device. In the case of the Tupperwave device, which is a closed circuit OWC device, correctly modelling air compressibility during tank testing is however essential because the device relies on air compressibility to work. In this paper, a new method for modelling air compressibility at the model scale is presented. The method uses variable volume chambers, which mimic air compressibility by storing energy under the form of strain energy. This method reduces the difficulties of implementation and enhances the application of the existing method to larger scales. Various applications to this method are identified and described, including the presentation of a novel OWC concept.
Wave energy , Oscillating war column , Air compressibility , Tank testing , Closed-circuit , Non-return valves , Spring-like effect , Deformable chambers
Benreguig, P. and Murphy, J. (2019) 'Modelling Air Compressibility in OWC Devices with Deformable Air Chambers', Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 7(8), 268 (13pp). DOI: 10.3390/jmse7080268