PhD Studentship: Improving Performance of Flexible Marine Propellers

University of Southampton - Fluid Structure Interactions, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment

Approximately 90% of the world’s goods are transported by sea, requiring large amounts of energy and contributing 3% of the global CO2 emissions. Small increases in the efficiency of marine vehicles can therefore significantly reduce the environmental impact of the marine sector.

Ship propellers have traditionally been made out of a metal alloys, however, composite materials provide the opportunity to build flexible propellers that save weight and improve efficiency by adapting their shape to different flow conditions. To realise this potential new numerical methods capable of simulating both the fluid and the structural response need to be developed and validated against experimental test cases. The unsteady performance of these propellers is particularly important as excessive blade vibrations can increase blade fatigue and propeller noise (an environmental issue with increasing importance).

The University of Southampton is pioneering the use of the full field deformation measurements that will be used in this project and provides exciting new experimental facilities such as the 138m towing tank. This project is also supported by QinetiQ providing industrial supervision and a wealth of expertise in propeller design and testing.

We are looking for a highly motivated individual, who is excited about answering fundamental research questions alongside delivering research that has a real impact for industry. We are looking for first class candidates with a background in mechanical engineering, ship science, aerospace, physics or mathematics. You should be confident with fluid dynamics and be prepared to conduct both numerical and experimental investigations.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Joe Banks, Fluid Structure Interaction research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 6625.

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South East England