In this discussion of numerical and physical modeling, I would like to mention one advantage of model testing that you do not find to the same extent in numerical analysis: the possibility of detecting unexpected or unknown phenomena.

I would like to illustrate this aspect by referring to a couple of examples of test results from my years of experience in model testing of offshore structures. The first example is from the testing of an articulated tower—a type of structure that was extensively used for mooring and transfer of oil from production platforms to shuttle tankers some years back. It consists of a slender tower, fixed to a foundation plate by a universal joint, and the foundation plate finally piled to the seafloor. Our tests included towing the tower horizontally in waves to verify the predicted wave loads during tow-out.

When we hoisted the model into the basin, something...

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