Research Papers: Fundamental Issues and Canonical Flows

Computational Fluid Dynamics Study of the Dead Water Problem

[+] Author and Article Information
Mehdi Esmaeilpour

Department of Mechanical and
Industrial Engineering and
IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering,
The University of Iowa,
Iowa City, IA 52242
e-mail: mehdi-esmaeilpour@uiowa.edu

J. Ezequiel Martin

Department of Mechanical and
Industrial Engineering and
IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering,
The University of Iowa,
Iowa City, IA 52242
e-mail: juan-martin@uiowa.edu

Pablo M. Carrica

Department of Mechanical and
Industrial Engineering and
IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering,
The University of Iowa,
Iowa City, IA 52242
e-mail: pablo-carrica@uiowa.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING. Manuscript received February 27, 2017; final manuscript received August 15, 2017; published online October 19, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Daniel Livescu.

J. Fluids Eng 140(3), 031203 (Oct 19, 2017) (8 pages) Paper No: FE-17-1121; doi: 10.1115/1.4037693 History: Received February 27, 2017; Revised August 15, 2017

The dead water problem, in which under certain conditions a vessel advancing in a stratified fluid experiences a considerable increase in resistance respect to the equivalent case without stratification, was studied using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The advance of a vessel in presence of a density interface (pycnocline) results in the generation of an internal wave that in the most adverse conditions can increase the total resistance coefficient by almost an order of magnitude. This paper analyses the effects of stratification on total and friction resistance, the near field wake, internal and free surface waves, and resistance dynamics. Some of these effects are reported for the first time, as limitations of previous efforts using potential flow are overcome by the use of a viscous, free surface CFD solver. A range of densimetric Froude numbers from subcritical to supercritical are evaluated changing both the ship speed and pycnocline depth, using as platform the research vessel athena. It was found that the presence of the internal wave causes a favorable pressure gradient, acceleration of the flow in the downstream of the hull, resulting in thinning of the boundary layer and increases of the friction resistance coefficient of up to 30%. The total resistance presents an unstable region that results in a hysteretic behavior, though the characteristic time to establish the speed–resistance curve, dominated by the formation of the internal waves, is very long and unlikely to cause problems in modern ship speed controllers.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Nansen, F. , 1897, “ Farthest North: The Epic Adventure of a Visionary Explorer,” Skyhorse Publishing, New York.
Ekman, V. W. , 1904, “ On Dead Water,” The Norwegian North Polar Expedition, 1893-1896, Greene & Co., London.
Hudimac, A. A. , 1961, “ Ship Waves in a Stratified Ocean,” J. Fluid Mech., 11(2), pp. 229–243. [CrossRef]
Miloh, T. , Tulin, M. P. , and Zilman, G. , 1993, “ Dead-Water Effects of a Ship Moving in Stratified Seas,” ASME J. Offshore Mech. Arctic Eng., 115(2), pp. 105–110. [CrossRef]
Zilman, G. , and Miloh, T. , 1995, “ Hydrodynamics of a Body Moving Over a Mud Layer—Part I: Wave Resistance,” J. Ship Res., 39(3), pp. 194–201. http://www.sname.org/HigherLogic/System/DownloadDocumentFile.ashx?DocumentFileKey=c23ccc97-1bd2-4a5a-969a-0f5d3e708afe
Vasseur, R. , Mercier, M. , and Dauxois, T. , 2008, “ Dead Waters: Large Amplitude Interfacial Waves Generated by a Boat in a Stratified Fluid,” Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, accessed Aug. 28, 2017, http://hdl.handle.net/1813/11470
Mercier, M. J. , Vasseur, R. , and Dauxois, T. , 2011, “ Resurrecting Dead-Water Phenomenon,” Nonlinear Process. Geophys., 18(2), pp. 193–208. [CrossRef]
Grue, J. , 2015, “ Nonlinear Dead Water Resistance at Subcritical Speed,” Phys. Fluids, 27(8), p. 082103. [CrossRef]
Esmaeilpour, M. , Martin, J. E. , and Carrica, P. M. , 2016, “ Near-Field Flow of Submarines And Ships Advancing in a Stable Stratified Fluid,” Ocean Eng., 123, pp. 75–95. [CrossRef]
Carrica, P. M. , Wilson, R. V. , and Stern, F. , 2007, “ An Unsteady Single-Phase Level Set Method for Viscous Free Surface Flows,” Int. J. Num. Meth. Fluids, 53(2), pp. 229–256. [CrossRef]
Venayagamoorthy, S. K. , Koseff, J. R. , Ferziger, J. H. , and Shih, L. H. , 2003, “ Testing of RANS Turbulence Models for Stratified Flows Based on DNS Data,” Stanford University, Environmental Fluid Mechanics Lab, Stanford, CA, Technical Report No. NCC2-1371. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20040031727
Yeoh, G. H. , and Tu, J. , 2010, Computational Techniques for Multi-Phase Flows, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, UK.
Li, J. , Castro, A. M. , and Carrica, P. M. , 2015, “ A Pressure–Velocity Coupling Approach for High Void Fraction Free Surface Bubbly Flows in Overset Curvilinear Grids,” Int. J. Num. Meth. Fluids, 79(7), pp. 343–369. [CrossRef]
Noack, R. , Boger, D. , Kunz, R. , and Carrica, P. M. , 2009, “ Suggar++: An Improved General Overset Grid Assembly Capability,” AIAA Paper No. 2009-3992.
Carrica, P. M. , Wilson, R. V. , Noack, R. , and Stern, F. , 2007, “ Ship Motions Using Single-Phase Level Set With Dynamic Overset Grids,” Comput. Fluids, 36(9), pp. 1415–1433. [CrossRef]
Martin, J. E. , Michael, T. , and Carrica, P. M. , 2015, “ Submarine Maneuvers Using Direct Overset Simulation of Appendages and Propeller and Coupled CFD/Potential Flow Propeller Solver,” J. Ship Res., 59(1), pp. 31–48. [CrossRef]
Johansen, P. J. , Castro, M. A. , and Carrica, P. M. , 2010, “ Full-Scale Two-Phase Flow Measurements on Athena Research Vessel,” Int. J. Multiphase Flow, 36(9), pp. 720–737. [CrossRef]
Lacaze, L. , Paci, A. , Cid, E. , Cazin, S. , Eiff, O. , Esler, J. G. , and Johnson, E. R. , 2013, “ Wave Patterns Generated by an Axisymmetric Obstacle in a Two-Layer Flow,” Exp Fluids, 54(12), p. 1618. [CrossRef]
Duchene, V. , 2011, “ Asymptotic Models for the Generation of Internal Waves by a Moving Ship, and the Dead-Water Problem,” Nonlinearity, 24(8), pp. 2281–2323. [CrossRef]
Rabaud, M. , and Moisy, F. , 2013, “ ShipWakes: Kelvin or Mach Angle?,” Phys. Rev. Lett., 110(21), p. 214503. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Tulin, M. P. , Yao, Y. , and Wang, P. , 2000, “ The Generation and Propagation of Ship Internal Waves in a Generally Stratified Ocean at High Densimetric Froude Numbers, Including Nonlinear Effects,” J. Ship Res., 44(3), pp. 197–227. http://www.sname.org/HigherLogic/System/DownloadDocumentFile.ashx?DocumentFileKey=83d3cac9-5298-48e5-bb8d-56656084cf37
Bhushan, S. , Xing, T. , Carrica, P. M. , and Stern, F. , 2009, “ Model- and Full-Scale URANS Simulations of Athena Resistance, Powering, and Seakeeping, and 5415 Maneuvering,” J. Ship Res., 53(4), pp. 179–198. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/sname/jsr/2009/00000053/00000004/art00001
Martin, J. E. , Esmaeilpour, M. , and Carrica, P. M. , 2016, “ Near-Field Wake of Surface Ships and Submarines Operating in a Stratified Fluid,” 31st Symposium on Naval Hydrodynamics, Monterey, CA, Sept. 11–16.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Grid topology for bare hull R/V Athena and undisturbed pycnocline position

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Resistance coefficient as a function of Frh and different h/D or ship speeds

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Time history of resistance coefficient for three different grid systems at h/D=1.5

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Internal wave elevation for all grids at Frh=1.27

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Resistance coefficient as a function of h/D at constant Frh

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Friction resistance coefficient as a function of Frh and different h/D or speeds

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Internal wave elevation as a function of Frh for h/D=1

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Internal wave elevation as a function of h/D for Frh=0.91

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Internal wave and surface wave elevations for Frh=0.91 and h/D=1.5

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Cross (top) and axial (bottom) velocity at the internal wave for Frh=0.91 and h/D=1.5

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Boundary layer and vortical structures in the wake represented by axial velocity (top panels) and pressure (bottom panels) for Frh=0.91 and h/D=1.5. The line indicates the pycnocline (internal wave interface) for the stratified case, and an equivalent iso-surface for a transported passive scalar for the nonstratified case.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Time histories of dimensionless resistance for an impulsive start from rest, for different densimetric Froude numbers at h/D=1.5

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Evolution of speed and dimensionless resistance for constant thrust CT=5.0×10−5 starting from rest, with different inertia at h/D=1.5. Open symbols correspond to steady-state obtained imposing a constant speed (as in Fig. 2).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

Resistance/speed curves and hysteresis at h/D=1.5, obtained with the imposed thrust histories shown in Fig. 15

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 15

Resistance as a function of time for increasing (top) and decreasing (bottom) imposed thrust values




Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In