Stability analysis of high-order finite-difference discretizations of the linearized forward-speed seakeeping problem

Mostafa Amini-Afshar*, Harry B. Bingham, William D. Henshaw

*Corresponding author for this work

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A high-order finite-difference method solution of the linearized, potential flow, seakeeping problem for a ship at steady forward speed was recently presented by Amini-Afshar et al. [1,2]. In this paper, we provide a detailed matrix-based eigenvalue stability analysis of this model, highlighting the sources of instability and the effects of possible remedies. In particular, we illustrate how both boundary treatment and grid stretching are important factors which are not typically captured by a von Neumann-type analysis. The new analysis shows that when grid stretching is used together with centered finite difference schemes, the method is generally unstable. The source of the instability can in some cases be traced to an effective downwinding of the convective terms. Stable solutions can be obtained either by introducing upwind-biased schemes for computing the convective derivatives on the free-surface, or by application of a mild filter at each time-step. A second source of instability is associated with the treatment of the convective derivatives of the free-surface elevation at points close to the domain boundaries. Here it is necessary to consider whether the surrounding fluid points lie in an upwind or a downwind direction. For upwinded points, ordinary one-sided differencing can be used, but for downwinded points we instead impose a Neumann-type boundary condition derived from the body and free-surface boundary conditions. As an example application to complement those already given in [1], [2], the method is applied to solve the steady wave resistance problem and comparison is made to reference solutions for a two-dimensional floating cylinder and a submerged sphere. Estimates of the wave resistance of the Wigley hull are also compared with experimental measurements.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101913
JournalApplied Ocean Research
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Stability analysis
  • Wave resistance
  • Neumann–Kelvin linearization
  • Finite difference
  • Overlapping grids
  • Forward speed


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