PhD Studentship: Improved Understanding of Propeller Efficiency in Realistic Ship Operations

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

International shipping contributes 3.1% of global GHG emissions, which without change may increase to 18% by 2050. This places an urgent requirement on shipping to reduce its CO2 emissions.

Ships are designed for a single condition, representing one loading condition and a ‘design’ speed in calm water. Ships very rarely operate at this single condition. Designing a ship for real operational conditions will lead to reduced CO2 emissions.

There are currently no accepted means to predict, measure or analyse ship performance for actual operational profiles; an essential pre-requisite for designing for real conditions. Almost all current methods focus only on ship added resistance in waves (drag) and neglect the effects of propeller efficiency, propeller-hull and propeller-machinery interactions.

This research project aims to quantify accurately ship added power in waves through (i) analysis of data measured onboard vessels, (ii) measurement and prediction of propeller open-water efficiency in unsteady flow conditions induced by ship motions in waves using our detailed flow measurement (PIV) and motion capture capabilities, (iii) investigation of propeller-machinery interactions in unsteady operation.

The University of Southampton provides exciting new experimental facilities including the 138m towing tank at the Boldrewood Innovation Campus to be used in this research.

You will be a highly motivated individual, who is excited about answering fundamental research questions alongside delivering research that has a real impact for industry. You should have – or be expected to obtain - a first class degree or equivalent 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. The standard UK fees and stipend are provided, however exceptional students might be eligible for an enhanced stipend.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof. Dominic Hudson, FSI research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2306.

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South East England