Synthetic fibre mooring lines are used as an alternative to traditional steel wire ropes due to their higher strength to weight ratio. Benefits are also found in relative ease of handling, and therefore the marine industry has largely accepted this type of mooring line. By rules and regulations, the design of mooring lines should be based on a coupled dynamic analysis of a particular mooring system and moored vessel. This approach incorporates damping and inertial forces (i.e., hydrodynamic reactions) acting directly on the mooring lines due to their motion through the seawater. On the basis of the outer diameter of the synthetic fibre rope, the Morison equation gives estimations of the mooring line hydrodynamic reactions. In comparison to the traditional steel wire ropes, the synthetic mooring lines usually have relatively larger elongations and consequently larger reductions of the outer diameter. Furthermore, the lower diameter certainly leads to reduced values of damping and added mass (of mooring lines) that should be considered in the coupled model. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop a new numerical model that includes diameter changes and axial deformations when estimating the hydrodynamic reactions. The development of the model is carried out with a nonlinear finite element method for mooring lines with the assumption of large three-dimensional motions. The obtained results show the effectiveness of the newly developed model as a more accurate approach in calculation of hydrodynamic reactions.
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