A semi-empirical model for ship speed loss prediction at head sea and its validation by full-scale measurements
Journal article, 2020

This paper proposes a semi-empirical model to estimate a ship’s speed loss at head sea. In the model, the formulas to estimate a ship’s added resistance due to waves have been further developed to better consider the ship hull forms, in addition to other main particulars. Based on the model experimental tests of 11 ships in regular head waves, the new formulas have more flexible forms and can better fit the test results than other similar models. In addition, this model proposes a significant wave height based correction factor multiplied to the conventional integration to compute wave resistance in irregular waves. This factor is supposed to consider the impact of coupled ship motions in high waves on a ship’s added resistance due to waves. The model is validated by the full-scale measurement from two vessels, a PCTC and a chemical tanker. The encountered weather conditions along the sailing routes are extracted from the reanalysis metocean data. The results indicate that the proposed model can provide quite accurate predictions of ship speed loss in head sea operations.

Irregular sea

Head wave

Full-scale measurements

Speed loss

Added resistance due to waves


Xiao Lang

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences, Marine Technology

Wengang Mao

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences, Marine Technology

Ocean Engineering

0029-8018 (ISSN)

Vol. 209 107494

EcoSail - Eco-friendly and customer-driven Sail plan optimisation service

European Commission (Horizon 2020), 2018-11-01 -- 2021-04-30.

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The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT), 2017-05-01 -- 2020-06-30.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences

Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics

Marine Engineering

Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

Signal Processing

Mathematical Analysis


Basic sciences



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Latest update

7/1/2020 7