Wave tank tests often involve simulating extreme wave conditions as they enable the maximum expected loads to be inferred: a vital parameter for structural design. The definition, and simulation of, extreme conditions are often fairly simplistic, which can result in conditions and associated loads that are not representative of those that would be observed at the deployment location. Here we present a method of defining, simulating at scale, and validating realistic site-specific extreme wave conditions for survival testing of wave energy converters. Bivariate inverse-first order reliability method (I-FORM) environmental contours define extreme pairs of significant wave height and energy period (
), while observed extreme conditions are used to define realistic frequency and directional distributions. These sea states are scaled, simulated and validated at the FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility to demonstrate that the site-specific extreme wave conditions can be re-created with accuracy. The presented approach enables greater realism to be incorporated into tank testing with survival sea states. The techniques outlined and explored here can provide further and more realistic insight into the response of offshore structures and devices, and can help make important design decisions prior to full-scale deployment.
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