Review and Comparison of Methods to Model Ship Hull Roughness
Journal article, 2020

There is a large body of research available focusing on how ship hull conditions, including various hull coatings, coating defects, and biofouling, influence the boundary layer, and hence resistance and wake field of a ship. Despite this there seems to be little consensus or established best practice within the ship design community on how to model hull roughness for ship-scale CFD. This study reviews and compares proposed methods to model hull roughness, to support its use in the ship design community. The impact of various types of roughness on additional resistance and wake fields are computed and presented for the well-established test case KVLCC2. The surfaces included in the review are divided into three groups: 1) high quality, newly painted surfaces, 2) surfaces with different extent of poor paint application and/or hull coating damages; and 3) surfaces covered with light slime layers. The review shows the use of a variety of roughness functions, both Colebrook-type and inflectional with three distinct flow regimes, as well as a variety of strategies to obtain the roughness length scales. We do not observe any convergence within the research community towards specific roughness functions or methods to obtain the roughness length scales. The comparison using KVLCC2 clearly illustrates that disparities in surface texture cause large differences in additional resistance, and consequently no strong correlation to a single parameter, e.g. AHR (Average Hull Roughness). This implies that, to be able to select a suitable hull roughness model for a CFD-setup, more details of the surface characteristics are required, such as hydrodynamic characterization of hull coating and expected fouling.

Roughness function

Hull roughness



Ship-scale CFD


Jennie Andersson

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Marine Technology

Dinis Oliveira

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Maritime Studies

Irma Yeginbayeva


Michael Leer-Andersen

SSPA Sweden AB

Rickard Bensow

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Marine Technology

Applied Ocean Research

0141-1187 (ISSN)

Vol. 99 102119

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Swedish Energy Agency (38849-2), 2019-01-01 -- 2021-06-30.

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Areas of Advance



C3SE (Chalmers Centre for Computational Science and Engineering)

Subject Categories

Vehicle Engineering

Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics



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6/5/2020 6