A sound–structure interaction model is established to study the vibroacoustic characteristics of a semisubmerged cylindrical shell using the wave propagation approach (WPA). The fluid free surface effect is taken into account by satisfying the sound pressure release condition. Then, the far-field sound pressure is predicted with shell's vibration response using the stationary phase method. Modal coupling effect arises due to the presence of the fluid free surface. New approaches are proposed to handle this problem, i.e., diagonal coupling acoustic radiation model (DCARM) and column coupling acoustic radiation model (CCARM). New approaches are proved to be able to deal with the modal coupling problem efficiently with a good accuracy at a significantly reduced computational cost. Numerical results also indicate that the sound radiation characteristics of a semisubmerged cylindrical shell are quite different from those from the shell fully submerged in fluid. But the far-field sound pressure of a semisubmerged shell fluctuates around that from the shell ideally submerged in fluid. These new approaches can also be used to study the vibroacoustic problems of cylindrical shells partially coupled with fluid.

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