This paper describes a potential-based panel method formulated for the prediction of the steady performance of a waterjet propulsor. The method employs normal dipoles and sources distributed on the solid surfaces such as the impeller/stator blades, hub and duct, and normal dipoles in the shed wakes trailing the impeller and stator to represent the potential flow around the waterjet propulsor. To define a closed boundary surface, the inlet and outlet open boundary surfaces are introduced where the sources and dipoles are distributed.

The kinematic boundary condition on the solid boundary surface is satisfied by requiring that the normal component of the total velocity should vanish. On the inlet surface, the total inflow flux into the duct is specified, and on the outlet surface the conservation of mass principle is applied to evaluate the source strength. The solid surfaces are discretized into a set of quadrilateral panel elements and the strengths of sources and dipoles are assumed constant at each panel. Applying this approximation to the boundary conditions leads to a set of simultaneous equations.

Systematic numerical tests show that the present numerical method is fast and stable. In order to validate the present method, sample computations are carried out first for the case of a screw within an axial circular cylinder, and a conventional axial flow fan, having a similar geometry as the waterjet propulsor, and then for the case of a waterjet propulsor on which experiments are carried out at KRISO(Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering). Comparisons between predictions and experiments are promising.

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