Impact between a rigid flat plate and the free surface of water has been investigated experimentally and theoretically. Under two-dimensional conditions, the experiments give values of peak pressure of the same order as those recorded on ships slamming at sea, but very much smaller than would be expected from existing theories. New theoretical work is presented which takes account of the air trapped between the model and the water surface, and of both compressible and incompressible water movement. This shows good general agreement with the experiments, though further work is needed to confirm some of the assumptions made.

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