An investigation of scale effects on the self-propulsion characteristics of a submarine

Savas Sezen, Cihad Delen, Ali Dogrul, Mehmet Atlar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
197 Downloads (Pure)


This study’s main objective is to investigate the scale effect on the benchmark DARPA Suboff submarine hull form’s resistance and self-propulsion characteristics. The study’s secondary objective is to explore the feasibility of the 1978 ITTC performance prediction method for submarines’ power prediction. In achieving both objectives, the CFD solver is utilised. Hence, the flow around the three different scales of the DARPA submarine forms and its propellers, including a full-scale one, is first solved using the steady RANS method with the k-ω SST turbulence model. Verification studies are conducted to determine the uncertainty level of the numerical computations for each scale. The hull resistance, propeller open water and self-propulsion performances are validated with the available experimental data and other numerical studies in the literature for the widely used benchmark sub-marine model. In the self-propulsion simulations, the propeller flow is modelled using the discretised propeller geometry with the Moving Reference Frame (MRF) approach. Also, the Proportional Integral (PI) controller is adopted to find the self-propulsion point efficiently. The scale effects on the hull resistance and its components, nominal wake fraction and self-propulsion characteristics, are explored at two different velocities. The extrap-olated numerical results obtained by the 1978 ITTC procedure show that the scale ratio decrease enables better prediction of the self-propulsion characteristics compared to the full-scale CFD predictions. As well as this, the extrapolated self-propulsion characteristics using the model scale results, which are obtained by the CFD com-putations, are found to be in good agreement with those of the full-scale CFD results. The study, therefore, suggests that the 1978 ITTC performance prediction method can be used in some confidence to extrapolate the performance results from the model to full-scale for the submerged bodies, similar to the surface ships. This study also presents the full-scale self-propulsion characteristics of the benchmark DARPA Suboff form for the first time in the literature using the CFD tool over a realistic range of submarine forward speeds.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102728
JournalApplied Ocean Research
Early online date7 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2021


  • E1619
  • full scale
  • RANS
  • scale effect
  • self-propulsion


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