On the accuracy of predicting cavitation impact loads on marine propellers

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


Predicting the cavitation impact loads on a propeller surface using numerical tools is becoming essential, as the demand for more efficient designs, stretched to the limit, is increasing. One of the possible design limits is governed by cavitation erosion. The accuracy of estimating such loads, using a URANS approach, has been investigated. We follow the energy balance approach by (Schenke and van Terwisga, 2019), (Schenke et al., 2019), where we take account of the focusing of the potential energy into the collapse center before it is radiated as shock wave energy in the domain. In complex flows, satisfying the total energy balance, when reconstructing the radiated energy, has always been an issue in the past. Therefore, in this study, we investigate different considerations for the vapor reduction rate, in order to minimize the numerical errors, when estimating the local surface impact power. We show that when the vapor volume reduction rate is estimated using the mass transfer source term, then all the energy is conserved and the total energy balance is satisfied. The model is verified on a single cavitating bubble collapse, and it is further validated on a model propeller test case. The obtained surface impact distribution agrees well with the experimental paint test results, illustrating the potential for practical use of our fully conservative method to predict cavitation implosion loads on propeller blades.

Original languageEnglish
Article number203393
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Blade surface impact distribution
  • Cavitation Erosion
  • Cavitation impact load
  • Numerical error
  • Single bubble collapse


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