It is often said that there are no simple problems left in engineering and the world of marine engineering is no exception – complex loading, an aggressive operating environment and safety critical operation make for some challenging engineering tasks. To ensure continuous vessel performance improvement whether measured by efficiency, noise and vibration or weight reduction, these complex problems demand complex tools and solutions such as finite element analysis (FEA) of structures, computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulation of fluid flow and combined fluid structure interaction (FSI) methods for combining the two.

Only a decade ago, CFD software was out of reach of many marine engineers and such tools were typically used by academic institutions with large computer clusters to evaluate and corroborate physical test results. Increased desktop computer power and simulation robustness has now brought these tools into the domain of engineering design, enabling improved performance predictions.

As part of a multi-million pound, High Efficiency Propulsion Systems (HEPS) project (2017-2019) with the Energy Technologies Institute, Teignbridge invested in state of the art Star CCM+ CFD software and the appropriately powerful hardware to run it on. These tools enable steady state and transient (time varying) simulation of complex fluid problems such as propeller cavitation in the vessel wakefield, hydro-acoustic noise propagation in fluids and even automated optimisation of propeller design by coupling performance feedback to the changes in the right propeller geometry parameters.

Always crucial in numerical simulation work, Teignbridge has worked hard to validate common simulations (such as open water propeller performance) and makes validation part and parcel of applying the software to new challenges. See our work on physical testing to see how we put our numerical simulations to the test against real world results.