Experimental and numerical investigations into the drag characteristics of a pair of ellipsoids in close proximity

A. F. Molland*, I. K.A.P. Utama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Investigations into the drag of ellipsoids in proximity have been carried out experimentally using a low-speed wind tunnel and numerically using a commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code (CFX™). The purpose of the investigations was to improve the understanding of the viscous resistance and viscous interaction effects between twin bodies in proximity, such as the hulls of a catamaran, and consequently to improve the techniques for estimating the resistance and powering of commercial catamarans. The wind tunnel tests were carried out on a single ellipsoid with a length-diameter ratio (L/D) of 6.0 and a pair of similar ellipsoids in proximity at separation-length ratios (S/L) of 0.27, 0.37, 0.47 and 0.57 at Reynolds number values up to 3.2 × 106. The ellipsoids thus represented a reflex (or reflected) model of a catamaran hull. In the numerical work, investigations were carried out on ellipsoids with the same geometry as those tested in the wind tunnel and ellipsoids with a larger length-diameter ratio. Results of the wind tunnel tests and numerical investigations are presented and compared. It is found from the investigations that viscous form effects and viscous interactions are present for such bodies and that CFD techniques can make very useful contributions to the investigations of these effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-115
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part M: Journal of Engineering for the Maritime Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • catamarans
  • twin bodies
  • viscous drag
  • viscous interference


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