Scale effects and full-scale ship hydrodynamics: a review

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Historically, the field of naval architecture has relied on a combination of model testing and scaling laws, known as extrapolation procedures, to predict full-scale power requirements. Numerous problems with extrapolation procedures were identified almost as soon as they were proposed, but since there were no alternative scaling laws their use persisted. This review article explores the cause of these uncertainties, the attempts to circumvent or correct them, and the current efforts to reduce and even eliminate the need for extrapolation of ship resistance through the use of full-scale Computational Fluid Dynamics. We find that while there are a number of developments and accomplishments in achieving robust and reliable full-scale numerical simulation, the research community is not yet ready to replace experimentation and extrapolation. The principal bottlenecks are the availability of open full-scale data, including ship geometries, and computational power to predict full-scale flows with the necessary accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110496
Number of pages38
JournalOcean Engineering
Early online date6 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • ship hydrodynamics
  • scale effects
  • full-scale ship hydrodynamics
  • CFD


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