Design of propulsors for underwater vehicle by comprehensive design method

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Cha, Kyungjung

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A comprehensive method which designs the propeller blades with the maximum efficiency to move a given underwater vehicle at a specified speed is introduced. A previously developed nonlinear optimization algorithm which defines the blade shape by 4×4 B-spline polygon is applied for a target propeller thrust and a given inflow. The propeller performance is evaluated by a vortex-lattice method (VLM) within the optimization scheme. The interaction of the propeller with hull (and duct) is accounted for by coupling the VLM with a Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) solver, in order to determine the hull resistance, the propeller thrust, and the propeller inflow. The optimization method as well as the propeller/hull interaction method continue until the propeller thrust and the hull resistance equal each other. The method is applied to design various open, ducted, and contra-rotating propellers for a given underwater vehicle. Several combinations of propeller size and propeller RPM are studied. Additional pressure constraints, such as the minimum pressure constraint and the pressure difference constraint, are imposed for some cases. The effect of propeller diameter and propeller rotational speed on the resulting propeller performance and on the required power are explored, providing proof of concept for the presented method as well as guidance to the propeller designer.


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