Design Optimisation

Propellers have been used for ship propulsion for nearly 200 years following the first introduction of the technology on the British built SS Archimedes in 1839 – the vessel name itself recognising the significance of the propulsion system and the founding father of the screw principle, the Greek mathematician and engineer, Archimedes.

Whilst we’ve been refining the propeller design process ever since through trial and error physical testing and an ever-advancing understanding of hydrodynamics, the complexity of the problem and the unique demands of each ship mean that the design process is still ripe for refinement and innovation.

In the last decade, the ability to accurately simulate the interaction between fluid flow and ship propellers and control surfaces has increased significantly through sophisticated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software and the necessarily powerful computers to run it on. Whilst previously the preserve of the academic world and only for the evaluation of physical tests, CFD is now being used as an integral part of the design stage in commercial settings, enabling accurate (+/- 1.5%), full-scale simulation of new propeller designs in the context of the complex flow over the hull.

Without the need to tie performance prediction/simulation to model scale propeller series and more simplified design methods, and with ever-decreasing CFD simulation time, the propeller designer can now iteratively evaluate design options before committing the design to metal. Couple this simulation capability to artificial intelligence-driven, automated parametric geometry modelling software and the propeller designer truly has design optimisation capability at their fingertips.

Teignbridge now employs state-of-the-art CFD software, Star CCM+ from Siemens and powerful computing from DELL to enable this automated approach to propeller design optimisation – all in-house. Siemens HEEDS software creates the automated link between computer aided design (CAD) geometry generation and CFD performance evaluation such that the initial, baseline propeller geometry created by the propeller designer is evaluated against performance criteria, automatically manipulated within geometry and performance limits and then re-run to hunt for improved designs. This design loop repeats automatically for a set number of designs or until a performance criterion has been met. Current Teignbridge computing power can be used to explore an enormous 500 possible designs for a particular application in the space of just 48 hours.

The process does not displace good propeller design from an experienced human brain (Teignbridge has 46 years’ worth of that) but complements the designer’s intuition and experience with unbiased, exhaustive design exploration to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the search for performance be that efficiency, noise and vibration, weight reduction, or something we haven’t thought of yet… get in touch to see how this powerful tool can benefit your project.

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    “Thank you to the team there for your efforts; this makes a difference”

    Testimonial from Exeter Maritime

    David Hull

    All the boating fraternity that I talk to cannot believe the speed that the prop job was done in and I make a point of bringing it up when ever I can. Once again thanks.

    Unbelievable Delivery Speed

    Chris Hosken, Lead Engineer, Pendennis Shipyard

    Thank you all for fantastic service and support in the purchase and manufacture of a four-bladed propeller for my Cygnus 28-foot fishing vessel, Bears Watching. For the last eight years, I’ve had numerous propellers from worldwide manufacturers and I have not quite got it right but now I have and it’s down to you all at Teignbridge Propellers.

    Surpassing the Competition

    Martin Cosgrave - Cosgrave's Ltd