Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2017

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Carrica, Pablo M

First Committee Member

Martin, Juan E

Second Committee Member

Ratner, Albert

Third Committee Member

Sugiyama, Hiroyuki

Fourth Committee Member

Harwood, Casey


A high fidelity computational fluid dynamics approach to perform direct simulations of ship maneuvers is presented in this thesis. The approach uses dynamic overset grids with a hierarchy of bodies to enable arbitrary motions between objects, and overcome the difficulties in simulation of the moving rudder and rotating propeller. To better resolve propeller/rudder interaction a Delayed Detached Eddy Simulation turbulence model based on Menter’s SST is used. The methodology was implemented in the general purpose RANS/DES/DDES research code REX, and is applied to the KRISO Container Ship (KCS) with moving rudder and rotating propeller in deep and shallow water. For the first time, a grid study is conducted for the self-propulsion condition for the propeller RPM, thrust, torque and lateral force, and for the roll and pitch motions, using grids of 8.7 (coarse), 24.6 (medium) and 71.3 (fine) million points. A grid study is also performed for the zigzag maneuver evaluating the maximum and minimum values of propeller thrust, torque and lateral force roll, pitch, yaw, roll rate, yaw rate and drift throughout the maneuver. An extensive comparison between predicted motions and forces of the direct simulations and the experimental data collected by Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt Potsdam GmbH (SVA) and Flanders Hydraulics Research (FHR) are presented.

While the results and comparisons with experimental data show that using direct CFD to compute modified and standard maneuvers with moving rudder and rotating discretized propeller is feasible, computational cost remains an impediment for many practical applications. Coupling a dynamic overset CFD solver with a potential propeller code can dramatically reduce the computational time to perform maneuvering simulations by using one order of magnitude larger time step than direct simulation. This thesis investigates the ability of a coupled CFD/potential propeller code approach to simulate maneuvers in ships, where the rudder is located downstream of the propeller. While the approach has been successfully applied to submarine maneuvers, in which the propeller wake is free of interference, the concept had not been evaluated before for cases where an object (the rudder) is immersed in the wake. The study is performed using the CFD code REX and the propeller code PUF-14. Performance of the coupled REX/PUF-14 approach is first tested studying propeller/rudder interaction, evaluating influence of the propeller/rudder gap size and rudder deflection on propeller performance curves and rudder forces, comparing against DDES simulations with a discretized rotating propeller. A grid study was performed for advance coefficient J=0.6 and a rudder angle δ=20 degrees for a propeller rudder gap of 0.2 times the rudder radius, with the resulting grid uncertainties for propeller thrust and torque coefficients suggesting that the effects of the grid changes are small for the present range of grid sizes. A 15/1 zigzag maneuver for the KCS container ship, in which case the rudder is very close downstream of the propeller, is then analyzed, and compared against discretized propeller simulations and experimental data. Self-propulsion coupled REX/PUF-14 results agree very well with experiments and discretized propeller simulations. Prediction of motions, forces and moments, and mean flow field with the coupled REX/PUF-14 approach are comparable to results obtained with discretized propeller simulations and agree with experiments well, though as implemented the coupled approach is unable to resolve tip vortices and other flow structures that interact with the rudder, potentially affecting prediction of flow separation. It can be concluded that coupled CFD/potential flow propeller approaches are an effective and economical way to perform direct simulation of surface ship maneuvers with CFD.


Computational Fluid Dynamics, Overset Grids, Propeller Flow, Ship Hydrodynamics, Ship Maneuvering Simulations


xv, 165 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 160-165).


Copyright © 2017 Alireza Mofidi

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