Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2019

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 07/29/2020

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Carrica, Pablo M

Second Advisor

Martin, Juan E

First Committee Member

Buchholz, James H J


This thesis focuses on the effects of wave-induced motions on the airwake of a ship and on the operation of a helicopter in the airwake. While the topic is broad, efforts are concentrated on understanding fundamentals of the ship’s airwake structure at varying Reynolds (Re) numbers without motions, using available experimental data for validation of the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methodology used, and on studying the effects of waves and motions on the airwake of a ship and a helicopter operating above a ship’s flight deck in full-scale. The static ONR Tumblehome (ONRT) ship geometry with a solid boundary representative of the free surface is simulated at three different Re numbers, 3.2x104, 1x106, and 1.3x108. Validation is performed against experimental measurements at model-scale Re=1x106. Full-scale simulations of the ONRT are carried out in head winds and regular waves approximately equivalent to conditions seen at sea states 3 and 6. Effects of waves and motions are isolated for both sea states using simulations with combinations of waves and motions, waves and no motions, no waves with motions, and no motions or waves. A triple velocity decomposition is conducted in order to quantify changes in the airwake due to motions and waves. The operation of rotorcraft in the ONRT airwake is analyzed using one-way and two-way coupling approaches. The one-way coupling approach uses the velocity field data from the full-scale ONRT simulations and disk actuator theory to calculate thrust fluctuations for three different rotor sizes. The results of the one-way coupling approach show that the smallest rotor is much more affected by small scale turbulence, while small scale fluctuations are filtered out by larger rotor diameters. In the two-way coupling approach, a helicopter based on the Sikorsky SH-60 hovering above the flight deck is simulated, including explicitly moving grids to discretize the main rotor, tail rotor, and fuselage. This method captures the effects of the interaction between the rotor downwash and the ONRT airwake. The study shows that for the mild conditions of sea state 3 the motions have little effect on the airwake behavior. At sea state 6 the airwake behavior is significantly altered, which is reflected in the resulting forces on the helicopter body operating in this condition.


computational fluid dynamics, dynamic interface, ship airwake, ship motions


xiv, 97 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 95-97).


Copyright © 2019 Gregory M. Dooley