Modelling the hydrodynamic effect of abrupt water depth changes on a ship travelling in restricted waters using CFD

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Shallow water studies of ship hydrodynamics typically examine a single, constant underwater canal cross-section at a time. In practice, the underwater cross-sectional area and shape of the waterway is rarely, maintained constant over long distances. This study presents an attempt to quantify the effects of an abruptly varying water depth by numerically modelling such a condition using CFD. The results show that waves propagate and refract in the numerical towing tank in a physically consistent manner showing less than 0.1% error in the dissipation of a solitary wave when compared to analytical relations. A strong boundary layer is formed on the canal bottom almost as soon as the ship enters the shallower region. The resistance increase, resulting from the depth change is up to approximately 226% of the initial value near critical speeds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1087-1103
Number of pages17
JournalShips and Offshore Structures
Issue number10
Early online date7 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2021


  • shalllow water
  • restricted water
  • wavefield
  • step change in water depth
  • water depth transition

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