It is well known that biofouling increases a ship’s resistance and nominal wake. For submarines, any change to the circumferential variation of the nominal wake in the propeller plane will affect the variation of the flow over the propeller blade, and hence the fluctuating forces, and noise, generated by the propeller. The ANSYS FLUENT commercial Reynolds-Averaged Navier Stokes Computational Fluid Dynamics solver was used to investigate the influence of both the longitudinal and vertical distribution of biofouling on the resistance and wake, including the circumferential variation of the nominal wake, on a submarine, using the well-known Suboff standard submarine. For the present work, the k-ε turbulence model was selected, as this is commonly used in this field and is generally considered acceptable. To handle different boundary layer thicknesses in the flow fields, the whole y+ formulation was employed, enabling automatic switching between low and high Reynolds boundary wall models. The numerical solver used for the simulations is based on the finite volume method, which discretizes the RANS equations. In this approach, a segregated model was utilized in the solver, and the convection terms were discretized using the second-order upwind scheme to enhance solution accuracy. The criteria for the near wall are between 30 and 100, and the value of y+ for the present case is 84. It is shown that fouling over only the forward third of the submarine results in a greater increase in resistance than fouling over only the aft third. Fouling over only the lower half of the submarine results in greater resistance than fouling over only the forward third, but less than fouling over the whole of the hull. Fouling over only the forward third of the hull has less influence on the circumferential variation of the wake than fouling over the aft third only of the hull. The results show the importance of keeping the forward area of the hull clean when considering resistance only, whereas keeping the aft area of the hull clean is important when considering the uniformity of the nominal wake into the propeller.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1312
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • biofouling
  • distortion coefficient
  • submarine resistance
  • turbulence
  • wake


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