Influence of the drag force on the average absorbed power of heaving wave energy converters using smoothed particle hydrodynamics

Nicolas Quartier, Pablo Ropero-Giralda, José M. Domínguez, Vasiliki Stratigaki, Peter Troch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we investigated how the added mass, the hydrodynamic damping and the drag coefficient of a Wave Energy Converter (WEC) can be calculated using DualSPHysics. DualSPHysics is a software application that applies the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) method, a Lagrangian meshless method used in a growing range of applications within the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Furthermore, the effect of the drag force on the WEC’s motion and average absorbed power is analyzed. Particularly under controlled conditions and in the resonance region, the drag force becomes significant and can greatly reduce the average absorbed power of a heaving point absorber. Once the drag coefficient has been determined, it is used in a modified equation of motion in the frequency domain, taking into account the effect of the drag force. Three different methods were compared for the calculation of the average absorbed power: Linear potential flow theory, linear potential flow theory modified to take the drag force into account and DualSPHysics. This comparison showed the considerable effect of the drag force in the resonance region. Calculations of the drag coefficient were carried out for three point absorber WECs: One spherical WEC and two cylindrical WECs. Simulations in regular waves were performed for one cylindrical WEC with two different power take-off (PTO) systems: A linear damping and a Coulomb damping PTO system. The Coulomb damping PTO system was added in the numerical coupling between DualSPHysics and Project Chrono. Furthermore, we considered the optimal PTO system damping coefficient taking the effect of the drag force into account.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number384
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Drag force
  • DualSPHysics
  • Multiphysics
  • Numerical coupling
  • Power take-off (PTO) system
  • SPH
  • WEC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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