team photo

Figure 1
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Figure 2
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Team 35

Team Members

Faculty Advisor

Tithi Patel
Nathaniel Larsen
Nathan Grabbe

Tianfeng Lu



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Optimal Design and Modeling of Towed Underwater Vehicles

In partnership with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), our project examines how the optimal design of a towed underwater vehicle or several vehicles is achieved through Ansys Fluent simulations and fluid mechanics theory. Ansys Fluent is a program that uses finite element analysis to calculate expected flow solutions. A typical underwater vehicle is shaped like a cylinder with rounded edges, comparable to a pill. To reduce the complexity of generating the simulations, we assumed any accessories such as the fins and propellers would be neglected. Our group used several 2D and 3D simulations to fully comprehend the software and understand how theory was used in practice. We created numerous CAD models of the vehicle shape that varied in length and diameter, as well as created several models where more than one vehicle were towed. These were simulated in Ansys Fluent to determine their respective drag force and velocity profile. With these simulations, we can narrow down our models to determine the best towing design.To ensure our results are legitimate, our group has spent the majority of the time validating our Ansys Fluent models against known shapes. We have iterated the simulations to reach grid convergence, the practice of using smaller and smaller mesh pieces in the finite element analysis solver to find a solution that should match the previous iteration, in order to further lend credibility to our simulations.