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Evaluation of Effectiveness of Waterjet Propulsor for a Small Underwater Vehicle


The goal of the project described is to replace the existing propulsion system of a small underwater vehicle with a solution less prone to mechanical damage and ensuring a lower risk of the entanglement of fibrous objects suspended in the body of water. Four typical marine screws are utilised in the current design of the vehicle. One possible solution of the problem is the application of waterjet propulsors located inside the body of the vehicle instead. The general condition of the application of the new solution was to secure at least the same motion control capabilities of the vehicle while the basic capability is its propulsion effectiveness at the required speed. Specific features of the considered waterjet propulsor, when compared with their application in surface vessel propulsion, are the lack of the head losses and the low significance of cavitation issues. One of the difficulties in the considered case is the small diameter of the propulsor in comparison to commercially available waterjet units, which have diameters between 0.1 [m] and 1.0 [m]. There is very little data regarding the design and performance of devices in the 0.02 to 0.05 [m] range. Methods utilised to forecast the performance of the new propulsion system are presented and results compared. These were semi-empirical calculations, numerical calculations and tests of real devices. The algorithm that is based on semi-empirical calculations is of particular interest while it offers possibility quick assessment of performance of a propulsor composed of several well defined components. The results indicate the feasibility of modification of the propulsion system for the considered vehicle if all the existing circumstances are taken into account.


ship propulsion, hydromechanics, waterjet, underwater vehicle


Vol. 28 No. 4(112) (2021)
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  • Lech Rowinski

    Gdańsk University of Technology
  • Maciej Kaczmarczyk

    Gdańsk University of Technology

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