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Using a Ship’s Propeller for Hull Condition Monitoring

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As a ship’s hull condition degrades due to marine fouling, more power and fuel are needed to maintain service speeds. One by-product of this increased fuel consumption is increased greenhouse gas emissions. Rising fuel costs, hull maintenance expenses, and mounting environmental regulations make hull condition monitoring a crucial tool for prudent ship operators, to eliminate energy waste due to hull fouling, to reduce carbon emissions, and to eliminate the carriage of invasive species between ports.

Methods for using a ship’s propeller as a power absorption dynamometer employ the propeller as a measuring instrument to estimate either speed or power. The calibration is typically performed for clean hull conditions, allowing the resulting propeller model to be used to track ship performance degradation due to hull fouling against a standard “clean-hull” baseline. The propeller power absorption technique is presented, along with the salient results of using it to monitor two U.S. Navy sister ships over a one-year long time period. This information may be useful for U.S. Navy decision makers who are responsible for hull/propeller maintenance and hull paint selection
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Keywords: Antifouling Coating; Fuel Consumption; Hull Coatings; Propeller Condition; Propeller Power Absorption; Resistance Hull Fouling; Ship Performance; Ship Performance Analysis; Ship Resistance; Underwater Cleaning

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The Naval Engineers Journal is the peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE). ASNE is the leading professional engineering society for engineers, scientists and allied professionals who conceive, design, develop, test, construct, outfit, operate and maintain complex naval and maritime ships, submarines and aircraft and their associated systems and subsystems.
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