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Back to the future: Flettner-Thom rotors for maritime propulsion?

DOI: 10.1615/ICHMT.2012.ProcSevIntSympTurbHeatTransfPal.1150
pages 1104-1113

Timothy J. Craft
Turbulence Mechanics Group, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, The University of Manchester, PO Box 88, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

Hector Iacovides
Turbulence Mechanics Group, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering. The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, U.K.

N. Johnson
School of Mechanical, Aerospace & Civil Engineering, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

Brian E. Launder
School of Mechanical, Aerospace & Civil Engineering, The University of Manchester, PO Box 88, Manchester M60 1QD, UK

Sinopsis

The paper presents the authors' latest CFD research examining, by way of a range of URANS computations, the performance of spinning cylindrical rotors for maritime propulsion both in the form adopted by Flettner and with discs distributed along the cylinder as proposed by Thom (1934). Computations agree well with experimental data of the bare rotor but indicate that three-dimensional unsteadiness means that a strictly 2-dimensional idealization produces too high lift and too low drag. The addition of discs, while leading to apparently negative drag coefficients, does not produce the striking rise in lift coefficients that Thom's experiments had shown. Moreover, the great increase in torque coefficients associated with adding discs seems to exclude their use in sea-going propulsion applications.

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