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The University of Southampton

SESS6063 Advances in Ship Resistance and Propulsion

Module Overview

Maximising the propulsive efficiency of ships is key to their economic effectiveness and in minimising their emissions of Co2,NOx and SOx. Advances in ship performance require a detailed understanding of the fluid dynamic mechanisms which control the flow around the hull creating resistance, the interaction of the hull wake with the propulsor and overall how the propulsor can be optimised based on the operational profile of the ship. The module takes a fundamental approach to ship resistance and propulsion examining in detail experimental techniques for measuring resistance components and time varying flow fields, theoretical methods for predicting resistance and propeller performance at concept design and the use of computational fluid dynamic based approaches.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The various ship resistance components and their experimental measurement.
  • Theoretical approaches to ship resistance and the design of propellers.
  • How CFD analysis can aid the hull and propeller design process.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Detail the fundamental aspects of ship resistance and propulsion
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Apply experimental and theoretical methodologies.
  • Think, observe, communicate, evaluate information and data, analyse and solve problems.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe in detail the derivation and application of ship resistance components.
  • Apply theoretical approaches to ship resistance and propeller design.


Experimental determination of ship resistance components: Momentum analysis of flow round hull: leading to wave pattern, viscous and induced resistance components. Wave resistance from wave pattern measurements, methods of wave analysis. Total viscous resistance by wake traverse. Measurement of resistance due to surface shear stress. Measurement of pressure drag. Use of the various experimental techniques to derive form factors. On-going work of the International Towing Tank Conference Wake: Origins, methods of measurement, detailed wake surveys, mean wake and radial distribution; wake scale effects. Tangential wake components; influence on blade velocity diagram. Influence of tangential wake variations on propeller loading. Computational and Theoretical approaches: Theoretical predictions of wave resistance and comparisons with experiment. Application of CFD to free surface ship self-propulsion. Thinship, RANS and volume of fluid. Momentum sources and blade element. Outline descriptions of recent developments in modelling wake and viscous resistance. Theoretical approach to propeller design: Review of theoretical approaches to propeller design including lifting surface approaches, panel methods and blade-element-momentum theories. Development of blade-element-momentum theory in some detail; Goldstein correction factors. Flow curvature effects and corrections to section design. Optimum radial loading. Wake adapted propellers. Waterjet efficiency. Design examples using blade-element-momentum theory Cavitation Erosion. Resistance/Propulsion Assignments: Detailed investigation of a particular aspect of ship resistance, flow and/or propulsor design.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • A course of lectures supported by example sheets, assignments and directed self-study, with sessions associated with laboratory/design labs. Learning activities include • Individual work on resistance and propeller calculations/examples as well as demonstration laboratories where appropriate.

Follow-up work12
Completion of assessment task48
Preparation for scheduled sessions6
Supervised time in studio/workshop2
Wider reading or practice12
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Bertram, V. (2000). Practical ship hydrodynamics. 

Carlton, J.S., (1994). Marine Propellers and Propulsion. 

Principles of Naval Architecture. 

Molland, A.F. and Turnock S.R., (2007). Marine Rudders and Control Surfaces. 

Various papers. in Transactions of RINA and SNAME.

Harvald. Resistance and Propulsion of Ships. 

Molland, A.F., Turnock, S.R., Hudson, D.A., (2011). Ship Resistance and Propulsion: Practical Estimation of Ship Propulsive Power. 

Rawson and Tupper. Basic Ship Theory. 

Proceedings of 24th, 25th and 26th ITTC.





MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment  70%
Final Assessment  30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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