Crashback is an operating condition to quickly stop a propelled vehicle, where the propeller is rotated in the reverse direction to yield negative thrust. The crashback condition is dominated by the interaction of the free stream flow with the strong reverse flow. This interaction forms a highly unsteady vortex ring, which is a very prominent feature of crashback. Crashback causes highly unsteady loads and flow separation on the blade surface. The unsteady loads can cause propulsor blade damage, and also affect vehicle maneuverability. Crashback is therefore well known as one of the most challenging propeller states to analyze. This dissertation uses Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) to predict the highly unsteady flow field in crashback. A non-dissipative and robust finite volume method developed by Mahesh et al. (2004) for unstructured grids is applied to flow around marine propulsors. The LES equations are written in a rotating frame of reference. The objectives of this dissertation are: (1) to understand the flow physics of crashback in marine propulsors with and without a duct, (2) to develop a finite volume method for highly skewed meshes which usually occur in complex propulsor geometries, and (3) to develop a sliding interface method for simulations of rotor-stator propulsor on parallel platforms.
LES is performed for an open propulsor in crashback and validated against experiments performed by Jessup et al. (2004). The LES results show good agreement with experiments. Effective pressures for thrust and side-force are introduced to more clearly understand the physical sources of thrust and side-force. Both thrust and side-force are seen to be mainly generated from the leading edge of the suction side of the propeller. This implies that thrust and side-force have the same source - the highly unsteady leading edge separation. Conditional averaging is performed to obtain quantitative information about the complex flow physics of high- or low- amplitude events. The events for thrust and side force show the same tendency. The conditional averages show that during high amplitude events, the vortex ring core is closer to the propeller blades, the reverse flow induced by the propeller rotation is lower, the forward flow is higher at the root of the blades, and leading and trailing edge flow separations are larger. The instantaneous flow field shows that during low amplitude events, the vortex ring is more axisymmetric and the stronger reverse flow induced by the vortex ring suppresses the forward flow so that flow separation on the blades is smaller. During high amplitude events, the vortex ring is less coherent and the weaker reverse flow cannot overcome the forward flow. The stronger forward flow makes flow separation on the blades larger.
The effect of a duct on crashback is studied with LES. Thrust mostly arises from the blade surface, but most of side-force is generated from the duct surface. Both mean and RMS of pressure are much higher on inner surface of duct, especially near blade tips. This implies that side-force on the ducted propulsor is caused by the blade-duct interaction. Strong tip leakage flow is observed behind the suction side at the tip gap. The physical source of the tip leakage flow is seen to be the large pressure difference between pressure and suction sides. The conditional average for high amplitude event shows consistent results; the tip leakage flow and pressure difference are significantly higher when thrust and side-force are higher.
A sliding interface method is developed to allow simulations of rotor-stator propulsor in crashback. The method allows relative rotations between different parts of the computational grid. Search algorithm for sliding elements, data structures for message passing, and accurate interpolation scheme at the sliding interface are developed for arbitrary shaped unstructured grids on parallel computing platforms. Preliminary simulations of open propulsor in crashback show reasonable performance.