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DRAG OF MARINE VEHICLES | FLUID MECHANICS 230 MINI-PROJECT | 2012

Body of Report
1.0

Introduction

A worthwhile goal for any marine engineers is to reduce the drag of marine vehicles as
much as possible given the volume of maritime activity in the world and the costs of fuel to
power fleets of ships and other craft. According to Seif and Tavakoli (n.d.), fuel costs are the
second largest item (after salaries) on a big vessels budget whereby the fuel consumption for
example, a large ferry, ranges between 1000 and 5000 liters per hour. This means that millions of
dollars takes up the yearly fuel budget for a ferry running 20 hours per day. Due to this, it is
important that a reduction in fuel consumption to not be taken lightly and yet to take action as
soon as possible. Furthermore, a reduction of fuel requirements is beneficial in terms of reduced
pollution.
In order to reduce the fuel consumption in marine vehicles, marine engineers identified
that the drag force had caused marine vehicles to use too much of fuel. The reduction of fuel
consumption correlates to the reduction of the drag force. The smaller the drag force, the less
fuel is needed to move the marine vehicle. The drag force is an opposing force of the driving
force (force that makes the vehicle move forwards). Hence, drag-reduction techniques must be
applied in every marine vehicle in order to obtain an efficient sailing.
In this report, three types of marine vehicles were covered. They are cruise ships,
sailboats and submarines.

2.0

Objectives

The main purpose of this report is to examine and analyze the different types of drag
forces and clarify how each force creates the drag experienced by each marine vehicle. Not only
that, this report is also done in order to investigate the drag-reduction techniques for different
types of marine vehicles.

DRAG OF MARINE VEHICLES | FLUID MECHANICS 230 MINI-PROJECT | 2012

3.0

Analysis of Marine Vehicles

3.1

Cruise ships

The shape of a ship plays really important role in order to stabilize in water. The
hull or body below the main deck is typically very wide has a deep base line or bottom. A roundbottom displacement hull looks like a large rectangle with rounded edges to dissipate drag
exerted against the ship. The rounded edges minimize the force of water against hull and
allowing huge and heavy ships to move smoothly through the ocean.

Figure 1: Hull of a Ship


The forces that act on ships are; buoyancy force, gravitational force, viscosity
force and wind force. The velocity of a ship is depending on the wind and viscosity force. Wind
force is nature force which always come towards ships and acts on every surface of the ship
while viscosity force of water normally cause skin friction and occur in the bottom of the ship.
However, with the help of density, buoyant force and gravitational force, large ship can float in
water. In order to achieve buoyancy, light weight, sturdy materials and dispersing the weight of
ships are important during the build of ships. (Briggs, J. 2008)
For example, the legend cruising ship, Titanic sank due to used materials cannot
withstand the high impact. About three millions low-grade rivets were used to hold every surface
of the Titanic cannot withstand 9000kg of pressure and popping out prematurely after the ship
struck an iceberg. Besides, the rivets were inserted to their holds by hand. Hence, the crash
caused massive life loss for about 1900 life in 1912. (Usborne, D. 2008)
Drag is major problem to ships to move and stabilize through the water. A few
inventions have to be created in order to reduce the drag of the ships. The inventions taken must
be parallel to Archimedes Principles. The invented way to reduce drag are; microbubbles and
hot body of ships.

DRAG OF MARINE VEHICLES | FLUID MECHANICS 230 MINI-PROJECT | 2012

Microbubbles are a drag reduction device that gives huge effect to a solid body
moving in water. Ships such as tankers play major role in marine transportation. They are very
big in size and move very slow. They are especially suited to microbubbles. By injecting the
microbubbles, 80% of the total drag (wave-making drag and skin friction) can be covered. (The
University of Japan. n.d.) Besides, since the density of air in bubbles is 1:1000 to water, the layer
of clustered bubbles near the solid wall can decrease the shear stress created by water. Therefore,
skin friction can also be reduced.

Figure 2: An image of microbubbles for full-scale ship


In order to able to estimate the drag reductions effect of microbubbles when it is
applied to a full-scale ship, it is necessary to carry out the experiment by using model of a ship.
In this case, dimensionless number equation can be used in order to calculate the force reduction.
m= a / p
m =a / p
UD
=(
( UD
)

)
m

a/ p

CD m=CD a / p

FD
2

U D

) (
=

FD
2

U D

a/ p

Equation adapted from Lecture Notes


A hot body can help ships reduce drag. It is discovered that when liquid comes in
contact with solid body that is hotter than its boiling point, it will produce an insulting layer.
According to Professor Derek Chan, when he tested this experiment on solid balls, he found out
that the drag of the balls is reduced to almost minimum possible through the creating of an
insulting layer when it falls through the liquid. When this method is applied to ship, not only
drag can be minimized as the ship passes through ocean, but it potentially can reduce

DRAG OF MARINE VEHICLES | FLUID MECHANICS 230 MINI-PROJECT | 2012

transportation costs and greenhouse gas emissions as the ship can move even faster. However,
this method is applicable only for certain temperature of the solid body moving in water. The
temperature has to be controlled and maintained. Too high in temperature will cause damages to
the ships. Not only that, it can cause corrosion due to the huge increased temperature.
3.2
Sailboats
Sailboats were invented initially with square sails where they could only sail windward.
However, the shape of the sails were then upgraded to triangular shape which showed
improvements as the sails were able to convert wind power from any direction into forward
thrust (Evans n.d.). Today, most of the sailboats implemented triangular sails to ease the sailing.
There are four forces that act on a sailboat, namely: wind force, viscosity force of water,
gravity and buoyancy. Nonetheless, the wind force and the viscosity force of water directly affect
the motion of the sailboat compared to the other two mentioned forces. According to How
Sailboats Sail Against the Wind (n.d.), the force of the wind propels the boat and the viscosity
force slows it down and helps it stay on course. An equal force of gravity and buoyancy assists
the boat to float.
Sails are used as engines for sailboats in which wind is their main source of energy in
order to create a driving force (the force is harnessed to move the sailboat along its course). Sails
can be utilized as airfoils for upwind sailing and as air dams for downwind sailing (Creating Lift
and Avoiding Drag n.d.). When the sails are used as airfoils, they experience wind forces in
which two components existed: the lift component and the drag component. The lift component
pushes the sail 90 (perpendicular) to the wind while the drag component pushes the sail in the
direction of the wind. The lift component can be explained by using the Bernoullis principle.
When the wind flows around the sail, the relative difference in wind velocities causes a pressure
difference that lifts the sail forward, thus, the sailboat as well. The sails are set in a vertical
position to ensure the lift is in a forward direction. The figure below illustrates the wind flow
over an airfoil sail.

DRAG OF MARINE VEHICLES | FLUID MECHANICS 230 MINI-PROJECT | 2012

lift
drag

total wind
force

Figure 3: Wind flow over an airfoil sail


The side effect of the lift component is the drag component. The drag component has two
different types of forces: sideways force and heeling force, in which go against the driving force.
The sideways force is due to the non-uniform spreading of the wind into the sails. The wind is
spread in the forward direction and also off to the side of the sails. On the other hand, the heeling
force results from the same force that the wind presses into the sail, acting upon the hull to heel
the sailboat (Physics of Sailing 2007).
Drag is the main concern for sailboats as too much drag will cause the sailboat to become
less controllable and hence, making it to move slower. In order to reduce this, sailboats are
needed to have a higher driving force to overcome the sideways and heeling forces. One of the
methods to achieve this is to let the wind come from the sides of the sails. When the sails are at
the correct angle, it will enable the wind fore to stay constant, thus allowing the sailboat speed to
exceed the wind speed. According to Physics of Sailing (n.d.), sailboats manage to move two
times faster the wind speed. Not only that, the driving force can be increased by good sail
trimming to maintain a small angle to the wind to make the best use of the force.
The Physics of Sailing (n.d.) claimed that having true wind for sailing is the most
effective way not only to reduce drag but to make the sailboat move faster. True wind is defined
as the addition of the sailboat speed and the relative wind (vw = vb + vr). When the sailboat speed
approaches the wind speed, the relative wind drops to zero causing no force on the sail. This
makes the sailboat to not be able to move faster than the wind. However, when the wind is at an
angle, there will be vector components. This can be further explained by referring to
Appendices: Appendix 1. Hence, as the speed of the sailboat increases, the relative wind
increases as well, thus, more force is acting on the sails and so greater force is pushing the boat
forward (Physics of Sailing n.d.). The sailboat will then accelerate until to a point where the drag
from the water balances the forward component of the force from the sails (maximum speed).

DRAG OF MARINE VEHICLES | FLUID MECHANICS 230 MINI-PROJECT | 2012

Lastly, the shape of the sails influences the driving force and drag. Thick airfoil sails
generate more lift and more drag in which the increment is due to the higher velocity and the
lower pressure. One the other hand, thin airfoil sails generate less drag but less lift. When wind
speeds are in a moderate to high range, sails should be kept tight in a shape of a thing airfoil
while during low speed wind conditions, sails should be left out a bit to generate more lift, thus
more driving force. The figure below shows the illustration of the airfoil sails (Evans n.d.).

Figure 4: Shape of different types of airfoil sails


3.3

Submarines

Vertical forces that act upon a submarine are based on the Archimedes principle which
states that the buoyant force that acts upon an object when it is submerged is equal to the weight
of the submerged region of the object (Hodanbosi 1996). Vertical forces that act upon a
submarine determine the vertical position of the submarine and influence the pressure that acts
upon the submarine. These forces can be adjusted by controlling the submarines density.

Figure 5: Position of ballast holes


The tank outside the submarines body is called ballast tank and with this tank the density
of the submarine is adjusted. Water is filled in this tank to increase the density of the submarine
and the ratio of water to air is monitored to achieve the desired vertical position of the
submarine. When a submarine is at rest floating on water, this is due to the density of the
submarine is less than the water surrounding the submarine (Surfacing and Diving n.d.). This

DRAG OF MARINE VEHICLES | FLUID MECHANICS 230 MINI-PROJECT | 2012

condition is known as hydrostatic. Buoyancy and gravitational forces play major role for
submarine to stay in hydrostatic position. This hydrostatic state can be summarized by following
equality;
FB > FG: floating on the surface, f > s
FB < FG: Sinking in the bottom, f < s
FB = FG: floating in the fluid, f = s
Where;
FB: Buoyancy force
FG: Gravitational force
f: fluid density
s: solid density
Figure 6: Hydrostatic states
The forward horizontal force acts upon a submarine is the engine that powers the
submarine while the drag which is the opposite horizontal force is contributed by frictions
between the body of the submarine with the surface of water.
Flow past an immersed body causes forces to be applied to that body, which are
dependent on its shape and the nature of the flow. With regard to submarines, the submarine
moves through the fluid, while the fluid is more or less stationary. However, analyzing flow
patterns past a moving body with stationary fluid is dynamically equivalent to analyzing the flow
patterns around a stationary body as the flow moves. For ease of CFD simulation the later frame
of reference is employed to determine the forces. In order to compare data between experimental
tests run using different speeds or even fluids one can make use of dynamic similarity. With drag
values this common ground is found using a dimensionless coefficient C D, which is determined
using equation below.
CD=

DRAG DRAG
=
1
QA
2
U A
2

As shown, the drag force is made non-dimensional by dividing by the dynamic pressure
Q and the area. The particular area used depends on the shape involved. As a general rule, the
frontal area is used for bluff bodies, the plane form area of the submarine is used for wings and
the wetted area is used for surface ships and barges. The length has no physical meaning, but it
serves the purpose. The DRAG value in the above equation is the drag force on the body, which
is caused by both viscous (frictional) and pressure (form) effects.

DRAG OF MARINE VEHICLES | FLUID MECHANICS 230 MINI-PROJECT | 2012

The drag force can be reduced by having water soluble, surfactants microbubbles (Truong
2001). This method is rather similar to which is used on cruise ships as well. The microbubbles
works as the density of air in bubbles is 1:1000 to water, the layer of clustered bubbles near the
solid wall can decrease the shear stress created by water.
The shape shifting method also has been proved to reduce drag on submarine vehicles.
The drag force of the vehicle can lessen the drag force up to 50% if it is covered with undulating
skin. This method is inspired by the dolphin where they wrinkle their skin to avoid water sticking
on their skin (Barras 2008).
These methods of drag reduction is to increase speed of the submarine which
consequently saving the fuel.

4.0

Comparison of the Three Marine Vehicles

Cruise ships, sailboats and submarine are three most common marine vehicles available
today. The purpose of each differs as cruise ship is a vehicle that carries thousands of people
through a journey throughout the sea while sailboats only carries two or three per journey, while
submarine has entirely different purpose from the two to move underwater.
For all the three marine vehicles, the vertical forces acting upon them are pretty much the
same, the buoyancy and gravitational which can be said as its own weight as well as F=ma. With
regard to cruising ships and sailboats, the vertical position is to be more or less stationary and
from the vertical forces point of view, these vehicles are to stay afloat. As for the submarine case,
the vertical forces influence on the vehicle is as important as the horizontal forces as the vertical
and horizontal position of the vehicle is to be varied depending on the route taken.
The horizontal forces acting upon these three varies from a vehicle to another. Cruise
ships has the engine to force it forward and having the wind force and viscosity force as the drag
that oppose the forward force. The sailboat has the wind as its driving force and the viscosity
force as the drag. As for the submarine, the forward force is contributed by the engine while the
opposing drag force is contributed by the viscosity force and friction force between the body of
the submarine with the water.
The drag reduction methods for each of the marine vehicles vary from one another
depending on many parameters scale of weight, driving force and practicality. Microbubbles as
a drag reduction method is used in cruise ships and submarines to increase the speed which then
leads to saving more fuel. The cruise ship also uses a hot body as a drag reduction method. The

DRAG OF MARINE VEHICLES | FLUID MECHANICS 230 MINI-PROJECT | 2012

sailboats are implementing the airfoil shapes to adjust the drag reduction as well as the lift of the
sailboats. The proper trimming of the sail according to the winds direction as well as the its
magnitude will also contribute to the drag reduction of the vehicle.

5.0

Conclusion

Marine vehicles share pretty much similar vertical forces acting upon them yet most of
them only to be adjusted to stay afloat. Only vehicles such as submarine takes vertical forces to
vary its vertical position as that particular vehicle purpose is to surface and dive out and into the
water. The driving forces on marine vehicles are mainly contributed by engines, but such vehicle
as sailboats which do not have engine to do so, depends on the wind as the driving force. Each
and every marine vehicles has to encounter drag force, which is in the opposite if the driving
force, making it something that has to be minimized to maximize the driving force in forward
direction. This drag force which is also a friction force between the body of the vehicles with the
water, is contributed by the viscosity force of the water. There are many drag reduction methods
has been invented and being improvised from time to time and being used accordingly to
necessity of each vehicle. The drag reduction will improve the speed of the vehicle which
consequently contributes to saving the fuel usage. Microbubbles and airfoil shape are examples
of the drag reduction method invented for marine vehicles.

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6.0

References

Baker, C. 2004. Estimating Drag Forces on Submarine Hulls.


http://pubs.drdc.gc.ca/PDFS/unc35/p522579.pdf (accessed May 16, 2012).
Barras, C. 2008. Shape-shifting Skin to Reduce Drag on Planes and Subs.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13693-shapeshifting-skin-to-reduce-drag-onplanes-and-subs.html (accessed May 17, 2012)
Brain, M. and C. Freudenrich. 2000. How Submarine Works.
http://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/engines-equipment/submarine2.htm
(accessed May 16, 2012).
Briggs, J. 2008. How Cruise Ship Floats. http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/cruise-ship2.htm
(accessed May 15, 2012).
Creating Lift and Avoiding Drag. n.d.
http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/0X/04705165/047051650X.pdf (accessed
May 15, 2012).
Evans, R. C. n.d. How A Sail Boat Sails Into The Wind.
http://web.mit.edu/2.972/www/reports/sail_boat/sail_boat.html (accessed May 15, 2012).
History: Barrow Shipyards and Submarines. 2006. www.submarineheritage.com/history.html
(accessed May 16, 2012).

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Hodanbosi, C. 1996. Buoyancy: Archimedes Principle. http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/k12/WindTunnel/Activities/buoy_Archimedes.html (accessed May, 16 2012).


How Sailboats Sail Against the Wind. n.d.
http://www.physicsforarchitects.com/Sailing_against_the_wind.php (accessed May 15,
2012).
Physics of Sailing. 2007. http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2007/1208-physics_of_sailing.htm
(accessed May, 15 2012).
Seif, M.S. and M.T. Tavakoli. n.d. New Technologies For Reducing Fuel Consumption in Marine
Vehicles. http://www.fsb.unizg.hr/sorta2004/abstract/t8-1-tavakoli.pdf (accessed May 17,
2012).
Surfacing and Diving. n.d. http://ffden2.phys.uaf.edu/212_fall2003.web.dir/nathan_earls/surfacing_and_diving_slide.html
(accessed May 16, 2012).
The Physics of Sailing. n.d. http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/sailing.html (accessed May 15,
2012).
The University of Tokyo. n.d. Drag Reduction by Microbubbles.
http://www.nmri.go.jp/main/cooperation/ujnr/24ujnr_paper_jpn/kodama.pdf (accessed
May 15, 2012)
Truong V.-T. 2001. Drag Reduction Technologies.
http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA397790 (accessed May 17, 2012)
Usborne, D. 2008. Cheap Rivets Blamed for Massive Loss of Life as Titanic Sank.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/cheap-rivets-blamed-for-massiveloss-of-life-as-titanic-sank-809622.html (accessed May 15, 2012).

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7.0

Appendices

7.1

Appendix 1

Net work ratio of microbubbles calculation


rw=

W net D U +W pump
+
Wo
Do U

D W pump
+
D o Do U

Where;
Wo: work rate to propel a ship in non-bubble condition
Wnet: net work rate to propel a ship in bubble condition
Do: ships drag in non bubble condition
D: ships drag in bubble condition
U: ships speed. Assume to be unchanged by bubble injection
Wpump: work rate for bubble injection
rw = 1.0 when net drag reduction is zero

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rw < 1.0 when there is net drag reduction effect