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Hydrodynamic Effects of Bilge Keels on the Hull Flow During Steady Turns

[+] Author Affiliations
Charles M. Dai, Ronald W. Miller, A. Scott Percival

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, West Bethesda, MD

Paper No. OMAE2009-79585, pp. 571-580; 10 pages
  • ASME 2009 28th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 5: Polar and Arctic Sciences and Technology; CFD and VIV
  • Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, May 31–June 5, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4345-1 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3844-0


The hydrodynamic design of the bilge keels is important for the ship’s resistance and roll performance. It also affects the ship wake field at the propeller plane and can greatly influence the propulsor performances in terms of noise, efficiency and cavitation. The objective of this work is to investigate the effect of bilge keels on the hull flow during steady turns for a displacement ship with a skeg and a bow dome. An Unsteady Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes Solver (URANS) CFDShip-Iowa, Version 4, developed at the University of Iowa is used to simulate the flow around the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Carderock Division (NSWCCD) ship model# 5617 with bilge keels at different steady turning conditions. The effect of separated flows caused by the bilge keels and the skeg during steady turns on the flow distributions at the propeller plane will greatly influence the flow at the propeller planes. It was observed that during a high speed port turn at full rudder angle, the onset flow to the port side bilge keel was mainly influenced by the flow around the bow dome and the onset flow to the starboard side bilge keel was subject to the free stream hull flow. The drift angle varies along the bilge keel span during steady turning and complex vortical flow structures were developed on the leeward side of the bilge keels due to flow separations caused by the flow over the tip of the bilge keel from the windward side to the leeward side. The vortical flow generated by the starboard bilge keel also merged with the separated flow caused by the skeg and form a streamwise vortical structure that was convected downstream into the propeller plane. The wake field at both port and starboard propeller planes were analyzed from the simulation results. It can be concluded from the analysis that the starboard side propeller plane was subject to a uniform cross flow and the port side propeller plane was subject to a cross flow that consisted of both cross flow component and a mean swirl that was caused by the streamwise vortical flow generated by the flow separation upstream. The cross flow component at the propeller planes can effectively produce side force affecting the lateral motion of the ship. It can be concluded from the simulations that the bilge keels have great influence on the wake distributions at the propeller planes and can affect the propeller performance during maneuvering in terms of hydrodynamic and structural loadings. Great care should be taken to ensure that the bilge keels be designed properly in the future not just for both seakeeping and propulsion, but also for maneuvering.

Topics: Flow (Dynamics) , Hull , Keel



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