Cavitation erosion risk assessment on a full-scale steerable thruster

Themistoklis Melissaris*, Sören Schenke, Norbert Bulten, Tom J.C. van Terwisga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Propeller cavitation erosion prediction at an early design stage is becoming more and more important since it is one of the key constraints in the search for maximum propeller efficiency. Despite the experience from model tests, cavitation erosion research on actual ship scale is very limited. In this study, an attempt is made to assess the erosion risk on the blades of a full-scale steerable thruster of a tug boat. Pressure side cavitation was detected on board for three different propeller designs. For the first time, a cavitation erosion analysis is performed on ship-scale, using a rigorous potential energy approach, which accounts for the focusing of the potential energy at the collapse center during the cavity collapse. A full sensitivity study has been performed for the blade surface accumulated energy. The erosion model shows the erosion risk for different propeller designs applied on the vessel, and different operating conditions, by looking at the surface specific energy on the blade. The erosion analysis shows locations of high erosion risk that show a good resemblance with the actual damage locations on the real blades.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111019
Number of pages16
JournalOcean Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Blade accumulated energy
  • Cavitation erosion
  • Energy projection
  • Steerable thruster
  • Surface impact distribution


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