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09 September 2016

CFD in ship design – extending beyond virtual towing tank simulations

4th – 8th September, 2016. Copenhagen, Denmark


Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is quickly becoming a standard tool in the design of ships and floating structures. The tool is also being used for a wider range of investigations, ex-tending beyond the more typical Virtual Towing Tank (VTT) and hull optimization studies. With advances in both software and computing technology it is now feasible for shipyards and design consultancies to maintain their own in-house CFD capability. By way of a number of case studies, this paper intro-duces a range of additional applications for CFD in ship design inspired by simulations commonly performed in other engineering sectors, including modelling tank sloshing and circulation, air flow around superstructures and HVAC simulations.

Presentation at the PRADS2016 made by Filippo Iliopulos, KNUD E. HANSEN, Denmark. Written by Tristan Andrewartha and Filippo Iliopulos.


CFD; computational fluid dynamics; optimization; tank sloshing; HVAC; air flow; air drag


With significant advances in both software and hardware technology over the past few years the use of computational fluid dynamics in the early stages of ship design is becoming more and more common. Previously CFD application in ship design on a commercial scale has been more or less limited to virtual towing tank simulations, but using advanced multidisciplinary software it is possible to model a wide range of physical phenomena including, among others, fluid and heat flow.

The latest report from the ITTC Specialist Committee in Marine Hydrodynamics notes that there have been significant efforts in the marine industry to develop and integrate CFD capabilities, particularly in the areas of resistance and propulsion (ITTC, 2014), which is of course one of the primary areas of focus for this organization. In addition, it has become feasible to include propeller geometries in propulsion simulations, rather than just applying rotating disc models. They also recognize that with the significant improvements in computing technology it will soon be possible to conduct realtime CFD calculations with maneuvering simulators, and software and modelling techniques are already developed enough to perform accurate seakeeping simulations, albeit with considerable computational requirements.

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