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Physics-Based Design by Optimization of Unconventional Supercavitating Hydrofoils

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A computational framework to design a new family of unconventional supercavitating (SC) hydrofoils with optimized hydrodynamic performance is developed. A low-order boundary element method is used to solve for the steady potential flow over the hydrofoil predicting its hydrodynamic characteristics, including the vapor‐cavity interface. Shape variations are obtained by an ad hoc parametrization scheme by composite B-spline curves whose control points represent the design variables to the hydrodynamic optimization problem. The accuracy of the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) tools is also preventively validated on the experimental characteristics of a conventional SC hydrofoil. A computational test case is performed to maximize the efficiency of a SC hydrofoil accounting for both shape and angle of attack variations. The new hydrofoil leads to 40% improvement on the lift over drag ratio compared to the initial reference shape. This result is confirmed by high-fidelity unsteady multiphase viscous solver.
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Keywords: boundary element method; design by optimization; differential evolution algorithm; multiphase Reynold-averaged Navier Stokes; supercavitating hydrofoils

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2016

This article was made available online on August 23, 2016 as a Fast Track article with title: "Physics-Based Design by Optimization of Unconventional Supercavitating Hydrofoils".

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  • The Journal of Ship Research is a quarterly publication providing highly technical papers on applied research in hydrodynamics, propulsion, ship motions, structures, and vibrations. While the Journal requires that papers present the results of research that advances ship and ocean science and engineering, most contributions bear directly on other disciplines, such as civil and mechanical engineering, applied mathematics, and numerical analysis. High quality papers are contributed from the U.S., Canada and overseas, with representation from established authorities as well as new researchers.
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