What is the apparent angle of a Kelvin ship wave pattern?

Pethiyagoda, Ravindra, McCue, Scott W., & Moroney, Timothy J. (2014) What is the apparent angle of a Kelvin ship wave pattern? Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 758, pp. 468-485.

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While the half-angle which encloses a Kelvin ship wave pattern is commonly accepted to be 19.47 degrees, recent observations and calculations for sufficiently fast-moving ships suggest that the apparent wake angle decreases with ship speed. One explanation for this decrease in angle relies on the assumption that a ship cannot generate wavelengths much greater than its hull length. An alternative interpretation is that the wave pattern that is observed in practice is defined by the location of the highest peaks; for wakes created by sufficiently fast-moving objects, these highest peaks no longer lie on the outermost divergent waves, resulting in a smaller apparent angle. In this paper, we focus on the problems of free surface flow past a single submerged point source and past a submerged source doublet. In the linear version of these problems, we measure the apparent wake angle formed by the highest peaks, and observe the following three regimes: a small Froude number pattern, in which the divergent waves are not visible; standard wave patterns for which the maximum peaks occur on the outermost divergent waves; and a third regime in which the highest peaks form a V-shape with an angle much less than the Kelvin angle. For nonlinear flows, we demonstrate that nonlinearity has the effect of increasing the apparent wake angle so that some highly nonlinear solutions have apparent wake angles that are greater than Kelvin's angle. For large Froude numbers, the effect on apparent wake angle can be more dramatic, with the possibility of strong nonlinearity shifting the wave pattern from the third regime to the second. We expect our nonlinear results will translate to other more complicated flow configurations, such as flow due to a steadily moving closed body such as a submarine.

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15 citations in Scopus
13 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 75965
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Funders: ARC
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Kelvin ship waves, surface gravity waves, free-surface flows, nonlinearity, wake angle
DOI: 10.1017/jfm.2014.530
ISSN: 0022-1120
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES (010000) > APPLIED MATHEMATICS (010200) > Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (010207)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHYSICAL SCIENCES (020000) > CLASSICAL PHYSICS (020300) > Fluid Physics (020303)
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Past > Schools > Mathematical Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Cambridge University Press
Copyright Statement: This article has been accepted for publication and will appear in a revised form, subsequent to peer review and/or editorial input by Cambridge University Press, in Journal of Fluid Mechanics, published by Cambridge University Press.
Deposited On: 08 Sep 2014 02:18
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2014 08:20

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