Numerical Fluid-Structure Interaction Analysis for a Flexible Marine Propeller Using Co-Simulation Method

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A Kumar
R Vijayakumar
VA Subramanian


Carbon fibre composite has exceptionally high strength, low density and corrosion resistance in the marine environment compared to conventional materials. These characteristics make it a favourable alternative material to be considered for manufacturing marine screw propellers. Despite these advantages, the flexibility of the material leads to a significant change in blade geometry due to loads acting on blades which alter hydrodynamic performance. A two-way coupled fluid-structure interaction analysis is required to accurately capture its hydrodynamic performance due to the reduced stiffness and material anisotropy. The present study focuses on numerical investigation for the hydro-elastic based performance analysis of a composite marine propeller in open water condition. The procedure involves the coupling of Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes Equation based computational fluid dynamics solver with the finite element method solver using co-simulation technique. The open water characteristics, including thrust coefficient, torque coefficient and open water efficiency, are discussed as a function of advance ratio. This paper presents a comparison of the hydrodynamic performance and structural responses between a carbon fibre composite propeller and a conventional steel propeller which are geometrically identical. The results for the composite propeller show a significant improvement in hydrodynamic performance compared to the metallic propeller while remaining structurally safe throughout the tested range.

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