• Martin RenilsonEmail author


The efficiency and acoustic performance of any propulsor will be affected by the flow into it. This is determined by: the hull shape, particularly the aft body and the tail cone angle; the casing; the sail; and the aft appendages. There will be an uneven wake field into the propulsor which will depend on the sail design and aft control surface configuration. This will result in fluctuating forces, causing vibration and noise. The quality of the flow into the propulsor can be assessed quantitatively using either the Distortion Coefficient, or the Wake Objective Function, and these are both explained. Results are presented to estimate the Taylor wake fraction, and the thrust deduction fraction as functions of the tail cone angle and the ratio of propeller diameter to hull diameter. The hull efficiency, which is the ratio of effective power to thrust power, can be estimated. The relative rotative efficiency is the ratio of the open water propulsive efficiency to the efficiency of the propulsor when operating in the wake. The Quasi Propulsive Coefficient (QPC) is the ratio of useful power to the power delivered to the propeller. Submarines are often propelled by a large optimum diameter single propeller. It is important to avoid cavitation, and the Cavitation Inception Speed depends on depth of submergence. Blade number is important, and this is discussed. Many submarines use pumpjets, which comprise two or more blade rows within a duct. The principles of pumpjets are discussed, along with some design guidance. The diameter of a pumpjet is usually smaller than that of a propeller, resulting in a lower rotor tip speed. Contra-rotating propulsion; twin propellers; podded propulsion; and rim driven propulsion are also discussed. Propulsor performance can be assessed using either the thrust identity or torque identity method, and both are described.


  1. Andersen P, Kappel JJ, Spangenberg E (2009) Aspects of propeller developments for a submarine. In: First International Symposium on Marine Propulsors, Trondheim, Norway, 2009Google Scholar
  2. Burcher R, Rydill L (1998) Concepts in submarine design. Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  3. Carlton JS (2007) Marine propellers and propulsion. Elsivier. ISBN: 978-07506-8150-6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clarke GE (1988) The choice of propulsor design for an underwater weapon. In: UDT conference, London, Oct 26–28, 1988Google Scholar
  5. Dutton JL (1994) Contrarotating electric drive for attack submarines. Nav Eng J, Mar 1994CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. ITTC (2011a) Resistance tests, international towing tank conference recommended procedures and guidelines, Procedure number: 7.5-02-02-01Google Scholar
  7. ITTC (2011b) Propulsion/bollard pull test, international towing tank conference recommended procedures and guidelines, Procedure number: 7.5-02-03-01.1Google Scholar
  8. ITTC (2014) 1978 ITTC performance prediction method, international towing tank conference recommended procedures and guidelines, Procedure number: 7.5-02-03-01.4Google Scholar
  9. Kormilitsin YN, Khalizev OA (2001) Theory of Submarine Design. Saint Petersburg State Maritime Technical University, RussiaGoogle Scholar
  10. McCormick BW, Eisenhuth J (1963) Propellors and pumpjets for underwater propulsion. AIAA J 1(10):2348–2354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Seil GJ, Anderson B (2012) A comparison of submarine fin geometry on the performance of a generic submarine. In: Proceedings of Pacific 2012 international maritime conference, Sydney, 2012Google Scholar
  12. SSPA (1993) Pumpjet propulsion. SSPA highlights magazine no. 2, 1993Google Scholar
  13. van der Ploeg A (2012) Objective functions for optimizing a ship’s aft body. In: Proceedings of the 11th international conference on computer and IT applications in the maritime industries (COMPIT), Liège, Belgium, pp 494–507, Apr 2012Google Scholar
  14. van der Ploeg A (2015) RANS-based optimization of the aft part of ships including free surface effects. In: Proceedings of the international conference on computational methods in marine engineering, MARINE 2015, 15–17 June, Rome. pp 242–253Google Scholar
  15. van Lammeren WPA, van Manen JD, Oosterveld MWC (1969) The Wageningen B screw series. Society of naval architects and marine engineers—transactions, vol 77Google Scholar
  16. Vinton PM, Banks S, West M (2005) Astute propulsor technical innovation summary. In: Proceedings of warship 2005—naval submarines, Royal Institution of Naval Architects, London, 2005Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Maritime CollegeUniversity of TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia

Personalised recommendations