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To model the underwater electric potential (UEP) of ships, a multiple point-electrodes method is commonly used. However, it is difficult to determine the total number of point-electrodes, their respective positions and current values. In this paper, the particle swarm optimization (PSO) method is applied to solve the number, positions and current values of these point-electrodes according to the UEP distribution at a known depth below the keel of a ship. A scaled ship model experiment is carried out to determine the effectiveness of the method. The results show that for hulls in a natural corrosion or cathodic protection state, the UEP inversion accuracy can reach 85% at different depths below the keel. This method is suitable for software implementation and can help the simulation and prediction of UEP

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