A simplified model is developed to analyse the interaction between the liquid motion and structural dynamic response of the side plate of a water tank. A mathematical model is established to simulate a knife-edged indenter impacting the side plate of a partially-filled water tank. The minimum potential energy principle is used to simulate the structural deformation and the kinematic equation is established to describe the two-dimensional ideal-fluid motion in the water tank. Considering the structural displacement as a connection between the water motion and dynamic response of the side plate, there is a displacement-pressure exchange between the water and the side plate for every time step. With increase of time, the water will finally become still and the plate will arrive at its final deformation. The numerical results based on the present simplified model are compared with the results from numerical simulations of an empty tank under the same impact condition, so as to investigate the effect of the water motion on the structural dynamic response of the side plate.

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