Onset and limiting amplitude of yaw instability of a submerged three-tethered buoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper the dynamics of a submerged axi-symmetric wave energy converter are studied, through mathematical models and wave basin experiments. The device is disk-shaped and taut-moored via three inclined tethers which also act as a power take-off. We focus on parasitic yaw motion, which is excited parametrically due to coupling with heave. Assuming linear hydrodynamics throughout, but considering both linear and nonlinear tether geometry, governing equations are derived in 6 degrees of freedom (DOF). From the linearized equations, all motions, apart from yaw, are shown to be contributing to the overall power absorption. At higher orders, the yaw governing equation can be recast into a classical Mathieu equation (linear in yaw), or a nonlinear Mathieu equation with cubic damping and stiffness terms. The well-known stability diagram for the classical Mathieu equation allows prediction of onset/occurrence of yaw instability. From the nonlinear Mathieu equation, we develop an approximate analytical solution for the amplitude of the unstable motions. Comparison with regular wave experiments confirms the utility of both models for making relevant predictions. Additionally, irregular wave tests are analysed whereby yaw instability is successfully correlated to the amount of parametric excitation and linear damping. This study demonstrates the importance of considering all modes of motion in design, not just the power-producing ones. Our simplified 1 DOF yaw model provides fundamental understanding of the presence and severity of the instability. The methodology could be applied to other wave-activated devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20190762
Pages (from-to)20190762
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2235
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Onset and limiting amplitude of yaw instability of a submerged three-tethered buoy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this