Compliant coatings for drag reduction

Compliant coatings can decrease fuel consumption of marine vehicles and enhance energy efficiency of marine energy converters.

Hydrodynamic performances are critical for the energy efficiency of most marine industries. A drag reduction for ship hulls would contribute to the urgent need of diminishing the unsustainable consumption of fossil fuel and emissions of carbon dioxide, which account for 3% of the global carbon emissions. The drag of tidal turbine blades is proportional to the power extractable from the tidal stream and, therefore, a drag reduction would increase the capacity factor of tidal turbines and decrease the cost of renewable energy. For a typical ship hull and tidal turbine blade, the viscous forces are small compared inertial forces (Re≈10^8), the flow fluctuations are large compared to the average flow speed (Tu ≈10%) and the friction drag significantly contributes to the total drag. Recent findings suggest that in these flow conditions compliant walls can allow a friction drag reduction greater than 10%. Therefore, developing this flow control mechanism for the shipping and tidal energy industry can lead to a significant increase of energy efficiency. The use of compliant walls is extremely promising for a number of reasons: the potential drag reduction increases with the level of turbulence of the boundary layer; it has the additional effect of suppressing vibrations and flow-induced noise; it is a passive flow control means and therefore it is resilient to the hostile marine environment. The aim of the project is to provide proof of concept that well-designed compliant coatings can allow drag reduction and underpin future commercial exploitation for the shipping and tidal energy industry.

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Further Information: 

Principal Investigator: 

Postgraduate Researchers: 

Research Institutes: 

  • Energy Systems

Research Themes: 

  • Offshore Renewable Energy

Last modified: 

Thursday, May 13, 2021 - 17:40