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fluids, structural mechanics & acoustcs research areas

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Fluid Dynamics


Fluids, Structural Mechanics & Acoustics (FSMA) | fluid machinery (fm)

Computer Generated Design

Computer Generated DesignOne of the key objectives of the designers of the Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel was to build an experimental facility that could be used to establish a firm scientific basis for the design of marine propulsors. The tunnel supports measurements of the character of the flow disturbances, or wakes, generated by the flow over the vehicle hull and measurements to evaluate the interaction of the propulsors with this flowfield. In parallel, a design philosophy has been developed to design propulsors for these wake-adapted situations.

During the succeeding 50 years of research, ARL Penn State has developed a methodology similar to that used in the gas turbine industry that supports the design of state-of-the-art underwater propulsors and other types of low-speed turbomachines.

ARL Penn State has designed and tested advanced propulsors for all types of marine vehicles, as well as axial-flow pumps, centrifugal pumps, and low-speed fans. In an attempt to develop advanced propulsors as an integrated element of a total vehicle, ARL Penn State has developed and implemented concurrent engineering practices - incorporating the hydrodynamic, hydroacoustic, and mechanical design aspects into a design team approach.

An integral part of the design and analysis of propulsors and turbomachines is the application of computational tools to simulate a given device in its operating environment. The techniques of computational mechanics permit the assessment of a given design at many operating points in a relatively short time. This offers the possibility of gaining detailed insight into a particular device's flowfield early in the design cycle when it is most effective in influencing the evolution of the design. These tools are also used to provide guidance for the experimental investigation of a design. For example, simulation results may suggest probe locations to capture important phenomena.

The related capabilities and areas of expertise that allow for improved turbomachinery design include: