CFD simulation of floating body motion with mooring dynamics: Coupling MoorDyn with OpenFOAM

Haifei Chen, Matthew Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus Citations


It is increasingly popular to use Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models to study floating structures subjected to ocean waves, especially when it comes to applications of floating offshore wind turbines and Wave Energy Converters (WECs). Mooring dynamics are currently lacking in most of these applications. This paper presents a coupled simulation study of moored floating body motion by coupling two open-source libraries: a finite volume CFD toolbox, OpenFOAM, and a lumped-mass mooring model, MoorDyn. The instantaneous floating body position and velocity are passed from the body motion solver in the CFD model to the mooring model to calculate the fairlead kinematics. The mooring reaction forces, which are calculated by MoorDyn after updating the mooring system states, are then returned to the body motion solver to update the floating body motion. Both mesh deformation and overset mesh methods are used as the mesh motion solver in the CFD model to account for the floating body motion. The coupled model was validated against experimental measurements for a floating box moored with four catenary lines under the action of regular waves, which came from a preliminary test campaign for WECs. Apart from the lumped-mass mooring model, the present work also coupled a quasi-static mooring model and a finite element model with the floating body motion solver in OpenFOAM. The mooring line tensions predicted by these models were compared. The coupled model equipped with three mooring line codes may be further used to carry out survivability studies of FOWTs and WECs subject to severe sea states.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number103210
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Ocean Research
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-83269


  • Floating body
  • Fluid-structure interaction
  • MoorDyn
  • Mooring dynamics
  • OpenFOAM
  • Overset
  • Waves


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