Hydroacoustic and hydrodynamic investigation of bio-inspired leading-edge tubercles on marine-ducted thrusters

Callum Stark, Weichao Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


Underwater radiated noise (URN) has a negative impact on the marine acoustic environment where it can disrupt marine creature's basic living functions such as navigation and communication. To control the ambient ocean noise levels due to human activities, international governing bodies such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have issued non-mandatory guidelines to address this issue. Under such framework, the hydroacoustic performance of marine vehicles has become a critical factor to be evaluated and controlled throughout the vehicles' service life in order to mitigate the URN level and the role humankind plays in the ocean. This study aims to apply leading-edge (LE) tubercles of the humpback whales’ pectoral fins to a benchmark ducted propeller to investigate its potential in noise mitigation. This was conducted using CFD, where the high-fidelity improved delayed detached eddy simulations (IDDES) in combination with the porous Ffowcs-Williams Hawkings (FW-H) acoustic analogy was used to solve the hydrodynamic flow field and propagate the generated noise to the far-field. It has been found that the LE tubercles have shown promising noise mitigation capabilities in the far-field, where the OASPL at J = 0.1 was reduced to a maximum of 3.4 dB with a maximum of 11 dB reduction in certain frequency ranges at other operating conditions. Based on detailed flow analysis researching the fundamental vortex dynamics, this noise reduction is shown to be due to the disruption of the coherent turbulent wake structure in the propeller slipstream causing the acceleration in the dissipation of turbulence and vorticity-induced noise.
Original languageEnglish
Article number210402
Number of pages27
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2021


  • leading-edge tubercles
  • ducted propeller
  • underwater radiated noise
  • FW-H
  • CFD


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