Numerical modelling of ship-generated solitary waves

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A ship sailing at the wave speed in shallow water produces a complex wave pattern including a downstream disturbance in addition to a periodically generated upstream disturbance. The upstream component consists of solitary waves which are generated at the ship bow and emitted forward as soon as the local water depth is sufficiently modified enabling them to bypass the shallow water wave speed limit. Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes numerical simulations are carried out to explore this phenomenon in a fully non-linear and viscous virtual towing tank in cases where a ship sails at the waterway centreline as well as off-centreline conditions. Results indicate that friction attains no more than approximately 25% of the total resistance coefficient, justifying the use of inviscid methods by previous studies in the literature. Water depth may have a significant impact on the frequency and amplitude of ship-generated solitary waves, but the manner in which this occurs is highly sensitive to the width of the waterway.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104016
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Ocean Research
Early online date24 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Apr 2024


  • ship resistance
  • solitary waves
  • shallow water
  • confined water


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