Physical testing for propulsion research

The demonstration of the HRV1 included an introduction to the technological capabilities of the floating laboratory The demonstration of the HRV1 included an introduction to the technological capabilities of the floating laboratory

Teignbridge Propellers recently invited a group of exclusive members of the marine community to experience the state of the art ‘HRV1’ research vessel in action.

Guests were able to see live-action, first-hand data onboard the innovative MCA category 4 coded catamaran.

The demonstration of the HRV1 included an introduction to the technological capabilities of the floating laboratory. This gave guests an opportunity to witness first-hand the vessels ability to test large scale propellers (up to 1200mm in diameter) and live monitor the propeller’s performance. By testing at diameters up to 4-6 larger than shore-based alternatives (including cavitation tunnels), HRV1 reduces the challenge of scaling performance results from model to full scale.

For the open day, HRV1 was fitted with a high efficiency propeller designed using Teignbridge’s integrated design approach as part of the two and a half years, £3m High Efficiency Propulsion Systems (HEPS) project completed as a collaboration with the Energy Technologies Institute. HRV1 is equipped with a high power onboard PC running LabVIEW data logging software to centralise and manage data from an array of best in class measurement technologies required to establish propeller performance and characterise the test environment for a given data set.

At the heart of the onboard measurement system is a propeller shaft mounted fibre optic strain gauge system developed in partnership City University of London as part of Teignbridge’s High Efficiency Propulsion Systems (HEPS) project. The system monitors changes in shaft geometry at a resolution of 10 picometres (0.00000001 millimetres) enabling very accurate measurement of propeller thrust and torque through the interpretation of an array of the fibre optic sensors.

Back on land, guests were treated to nibbles and cream teas while Teignbridge engineers introduced their new integrated design approach to maximising propeller performance by coupling physical testing with numerical simulation tools including computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

The presentation detailed on Teignbridge’s work on: structural analysis, computational fluid dynamic analysis, combined structural and fluid dynamic analysis, open water, algorithm-driven design optimisation, hull resistance and wakefield analysis leading to wake-adapted propeller design, the HEPS project work and Teignbridge’s newly patented, Clamp on Blade, replaceable blade propeller.

By Jake Frith

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