Exploration of a systems and control approach to reduce propeller cavitation in a seaway

Arthur Vrijdag, Daan Schuttevaer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Dramatic increases in the underwater acoustic signature of ships have been observed during full scale trials in a seaway, compared to calm water conditions. The observed behaviour can be explained by the interaction of waves, wake field and ship propulsion system dynamics in combination with rudder action and ship motions. This paper explores whether a propulsion control system can increase the cavitation free time when sailing a straight course in a seaway. While in the past non-linear simulation tools have been used to analyse propeller cavitation in a seaway, the original contribution of this paper is that it considers the problem from a systems and control point of view. It is shown that the objective of significantly increasing the cavitation free time while simultaneously preventing thermal overloading of the diesel engine cannot simply be met by adjusting engine speed governor settings. It is however concluded that the developed plant and disturbance model are promising tools for advanced controller development and tuning aiming to reduce underwater acoustic signature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-187
JournalOcean Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care

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.


  • Ship propulsion system
  • Propeller cavitation
  • Cavitation control
  • Cavitation in waves


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