FEIT Research Project Database

The cost of roughness: predicting the drag penalty of fouled ship hulls

Project Leader: Nicholas Hutchins
Staff: Jason Monty, Bagus Nugroho
Collaborators: Mike Schultz (US Naval Academy) Bharath Ganapathisubramani (University of Southampton)
Sponsors: Australian Research Council
Primary Contact: Nicholas Hutchins (nhu@unimelb.edu.au)
Keywords: drag reduction; fluid dynamics; maritime engineering; turbulence
Disciplines: Mechanical Engineering

Roughness on ship hulls is a prevalent global problem, causing up to 80% increases in resistance compared to ideal smooth surfaces. Targeting a key capability gap, this project aims to build practical tools for predicting the performance penalty in shipping due to hull roughness, requiring only hull observations as an input. Observations made with a custom-built underwater surface scanner will be combined with world-first laser-based flow measurements on the hull of an operating ship, and backed-up by complimentary laboratory experiments. This project will deliver an advanced fundamental understanding of hull roughness and enable more informed decisions for ship operators and regulatory bodies, leading to increased shipping efficiency.

We are currently seeking PhD students and a postdoctoral researcher for this project. There will be a mix of laboratory and field-based research. Laboratory research will be located in the Walter Bassett Aerodynamics laboratory at the University of Melbourne. Field measurements will be conducted on operating vessels in Indonesia, involving laser-based flow measurements in the turbulent boundary layers formed over the hull and also under-water image based surface scanning.



Project summary
Field experiments