The water transportation of cargo is, among several possible modes of transportation, the most economically and environmentally efficient. Adding technology to pusher-barge systems increases the efficiency of this form of transport. It is not only limited to the design and manufacturing process, but extends to the training of commanders and crews. An efficient way to ensure this training is immersion in virtual scenarios that simulate reality. To have realistic response of the simulator to external commands and boundary conditions, it is necessary to understand the hydrodynamics of the pusher-barge system in its various working conditions. This paper presents results and discussions on the hydrodynamics of a river pusher-barge system based on computational results from CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and experimental results from towing tank test using small scale model. Initially the coefficients of current forces acting on the vessel in the horizontal plane (surge, sway and yaw) obtained by the two methods are presented. Several current incident angles were analyzed in the following cases: two drafts (ballasted and full-loaded), three configurations of barges (1 × 1, 2 × 1 and 2 × 2) and two water depths. Next, the results are compared and the divergences due to small difference in geometry and scale effects are analyzed. The hypotheses formulated for possible causes of the divergences are grounded through mathematical and experimental models and simulations. To cancel these effects and perform validation of CFD, new simulations are presented with similar geometry to the model tested.

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