Cavity formation on the surface of a body entering water with deceleration

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The two-dimensional water entry of a rigid symmetric body with account for cavity formation on the body surface is studied. Initially the liquid is at rest and occupies the lower half plane. The rigid symmetric body touches the liquid free surface at a single point and then starts suddenly to penetrate the liquid vertically with a time-varying speed. We study the effect of the body deceleration on the pressure distribution in the flow region. It is shown that, in addition to the high pressures expected from the theory of impact, the pressure on the body surface can later decrease to sub-atmospheric levels. The creation of a cavity due to such low pressures is considered. The cavity starts at the lowest point of the body and spreads along the body surface forming a thin space between a new free surface and the body. Within the linearised hydrodynamic problem, the positions of the two turnover points at the periphery of the wetted area are determined by Wagner’s condition. The ends of the cavity’s free surface are modelled by the Brillouin–Villat condition. The pressure in the cavity is assumed to be a prescribed constant, which is a parameter of the model. The hydrodynamic problem is reduced to a system of integral and differential equations with respect to several functions of time. Results are presented for constant deceleration of two body shapes: a parabola and a wedge. The general formulation made also embraces conditions where the body is free to decelerate under the total fluid force. Contrasts are drawn between results from the present model and a simpler model in which the cavity formation is suppressed. It is shown that the expansion of the cavity can be significantly slower than the expansion of the corresponding zone of sub-atmospheric pressure in the simpler model. For forced motion and cavity pressure close to atmospheric, the cavity grows until almost complete detachment of the fluid from the body. In the problem of free motion of the body, cavitation with vapour pressure in the cavity is achievable only for extremely large impact velocities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-174
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Engineering Mathematics
Issue number1
Early online date1 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • Cavitation
  • Solid–liquid impact
  • Wagner model
  • Water entry

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