The role played by the curvature of the body surface on the hydrodynamics of water entry with high horizontal velocity component is investigated experimentally. The study is a part of a research activity finalized at the understanding of the aircraft ditching problem. In order to avoid scaling effects which may prevent the development of ventilation/cavitation phenomena, the study is carried out at full scale velocity. Measurements are presented in terms of pressures and loads whereas some underwater visualizations are used for the interpretation of the data. Both a convex and concave body surface are considered and comparisons with the flat plate data are established.
In the case of a concave shape, a quite complicated flow with large air entrainment develops beneath the plate. The air entrainment causes a general reduction of the pressure peak at the middle, whereas the pressure peaks recorded at the side probes are about in line with those found for the flat plate in the same conditions. The total hydrodynamic load acting normal to the plate grows more regularly but the maximum load is essentially the same as that measured in the flat plate case. For the convex shape, the pressure probes located in the middle of the plate get wetted well before the ones at the side and the pressure peaks at the sides are much lower than those in the middle. The reduced pressures at the sides cause a reduction of the total loading in the normal direction compared to flat and concave plates.