Recently there has been increasing interest in the fluid-structure interaction problem of planning hull bottom structure during slamming events. Significant work has been done in estimating the bottom pressures that occur during a slam and incorporating this into structural models of planing craft. In this article, empirical equations for the pressure distribution on prismatic planing hulls are developed, including both hydrostatic and hydrodynamic effects, deadrise variation, trim, and wetted length. The empirical method is based on relevant experimental measurements of planing hull bottom pressures that have been made over an 80-year period. This analysis may readily be extended to the impact problem by substitution of an equivalent planing velocity, which is discussed in the article. The end result is a closed form solution for bottom pressures on prismatic planing craft that can be rapidly calculated using a simple spreadsheet. The method is applicable for deadrise angles from 0 to 40, trim angles up to 30, and wetted lengths up to five beams. This wide range of parameters is significantly larger than most current models. The empirical method is modular, allowing for substitution of more accurate formulae as more data become available in the future.

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