Rudolph Michel, 82, a former civilian engineer with the Navy's Bureau of Ships, died of cancer Wednesday at Georgetown University Hospital.

He started with the bureau in 1934 as an assistant engineer and retired in 1958 as chief engineer of the scientific and perfomance section.

Mr. Michel was responsible for a number of innovations, including a method of computing pipe stresses, a dynamic method of computation and design of propulsion shafting, the regenerative feed heating in power plants of surface warships and noise isolation on a naval submarine, the Grouper.

Mr. Michel was a member of a U.S. Naval Technical Mission in Europe that investigated German technology of naval power plants and machinery. He received a Meritorious Service Award for his work done on piping design.

Born in Baltimore, he was a graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and the Maryland Institute. He received a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin and a master's degree from the University of Illinois.

He taught engineering at Virginia mechanics at the University of Illinois. Later, he was a professional lecturer in engineering at George Washington University.

After retiring from the Bureau of Ships, Mr. Michel worked for six years as a consultant with Allis Chalmers on the design of power reactors and nuclear power plants. He then headed the shock section at the David Taylor Model Basin for two years before retiring for a second time.

A registered professional engineer, Mr. Michel was a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and had served as chairman of the Washington section in 1965. He also belonged to the Society of Naval Engineers. He was the author of numerous articles for technical publications.

He is survived by his wife, Dr. Helene D. Michel, of the home in Hyattsville; three daughters, Mrs. George H. Main, of Bethesda, Mrs. Richard Hyneman, of Fullerton, Calif., and Mrs, Joseph F. Yurso, of Virginia Beach, and seveen grandchildren.