Beginner requires help

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by ENG Student, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. ENG Student
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    ENG Student Junior Member

    Hello All,
    Allow me to introduce myself. I am George Haritos, I am student of Automotive Engineering at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, and i am in a bit of trouble.
    For my individual major project i have been set the task of designing a boat which runs solely on wind and solar energy. I know enough about designing the wind and solar system but i must confess being a true petrol head my knowledge of boats and boat design is extreemly limited.
    After browsing the forum for a while i have found a few good threads, however, these go into depth where i must admit i get confused.

    Are there any threads (or even books or websites) anyone can advise for beginner?

    Any help would be much appreciated
     
  2. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Surely your project is about the "green" energy and how to convert this to useful power, rather than boat design per se?

    If so, all you need to do, is demonstrate how much energy you can get from 'green' resources and compare this to existing power units and boats.

    The design of the boat and how fast it goes etc, is almost irrelevant. The way you covert renewable 'free' energy into useful power is not, that is your projects thrust.
     
  3. ENG Student
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    ENG Student Junior Member

    Thank you for your reply Ad Hoc,
    The project is actually a design project in which i will be using CATIA V5 to design the boat. I will also need to do some CFD analysis to determine the max drag, size of the wake, to finally determine the motor to be chosen.
    It is an 8month project so as expected there is a considerable amount of work.

    I am surprised at the lack of guidance from you guys on this forum. Being a keen member of the Nissan 200sx owners club, our forum is always advising and guiding newbs on any issues they have relating to their vehicle.
     
  4. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Heya George, welcome aboard :)

    Ours is usually that way too. But there are a lot of new threads, and many of us are pretty busy types who are only online every few days. So don't be offended if it's a slow start.

    Yup, sounds like something the eng profs would dream up. "You shall use xxx software package" because the software supplier wants evidence that his academic licence is being put to good use. "You shall use CFD" because, well, it's trendy, never mind that it's also not much use for your project, because the kinds of hull shapes that would make sense for you are all very well documented from 100 years of real-world full-scale testing.

    I've been through all that- just finished engineering school recently myself- and I'm only now starting to figure out that we were doing it all backwards. You don't start by saying:
    "I want to design a windmill-powered boat in Catia" (which is what usually happens in school).
    Better to start with something like:
    "I want to design a boat to carry 4 people in comfort for month-long ocean cruises, with minimal dependence on external support".
    Or, in your case, perhaps:
    "I want to determine what sort of boats, in what kind of service, could make economic use of wind and/or solar power systems and which boats could not".

    Simply coming up with a boat that uses wind and solar power is not terribly difficult: Take any old sailboat, replace its diesel with an electric motor, cover every available space with solar panels, add big battery.

    Coming up with one that suits a particular use- and you do have to define the requirements and intended use before you can begin drawing- and does so economically, now that's a challenge worthy of an engineer.


    edit- Oh, right, and you asked about books. Larsson / Eliasson "Principles of Yacht Design" is a pretty nice, modern introduction to the field at a level that will be quite straightforward to an engineering undergrad. Your library might have the popular SNAME reference set "Principles of Naval Architecture", it's a bit pricey for a student though. Skene's "Elements of Yacht Design" is a bit outdated but still interesting. There are easily several dozen more "must read" books for the dedicated boat design addict, a bit of poking at the forum's "Advanced Search" menu will turn up many more opinions.
     
  5. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    ENG Student, you should visit this thread: Windmill or Wind Turbine- powered boats: how many are out there, and are they viable?
     
  6. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    ENG Student

    Matt summed up pretty well the main issues from your response. A project, with such a title, is totally meaningless really, for the reasons all ready mentioned.

    Since to 'design' a boat requires you to be a naval architectural student. If you are not, nor is your course, you shall never be able to fully appreciate why certain things are done in a particular way. Only because time does not permit the further research required into all things 'naval architecture'.

    The brief you gave in your first post is contrary to your second. The first being the use of "green energy" for a boat. But your second post, "designing" a boat with CFD, software etc.

    Hence in order for any to advise you better, you really need to establish what is the main thrust, ie what your tutors/prof's are expecting you to produce and why. You can't do both, if you are an automotive student.

    Just as i couldn't, when i was a student, design an engine and all the internals beyond the basics, I designed boats not engines!

    In short, your project is interesting, but you appear to ahve two separate and contrary topics. If you wish to fuse them into one, you have a mountain to climb and will end up a mess, given the short time scales you have (yes 8 months is short for what you are trying to achieve as a student).

    To paraphrase Matt you really need to:

    "..Simply coming up with a boat that uses wind and solar power is not terribly difficult: Take any old sailboat, replace its diesel with an electric motor, cover every available space with solar panels, add big battery.

    Coming up with one that suits a particular use- and you do have to define the requirements and intended use before you can begin drawing- and does so economically, now that's a challenge worthy of an engineer..."
     
  7. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Please remember one very basic truth; Without solar energy, there would be no wind. Therefore, sailboats run on solar energy.
     
  8. pistnbroke
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    pistnbroke I try

    If you are an automobile student what are you pissing about with boats for ??? As a former senior lecturer in automoblile engineering for 30 years I never once thought of boats in connection to my students ....Why are you not designing a solar powered vehicle etc ....give your lecturer a belt round the head from me ....
     
  9. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If you want to build an efficient "wind powered boat" aka sailboat, just pick up a naval architecture book or a book of designs. It is nothing new, only the trendy terminology is. The design will be restricted by the area of operation. Something an automotive engineering proffesor probably knows nothing about. If you are designing a solar powered machine to operate somewhere in high latitudes with several months of dark, it can only be for non essential uses. The wind power would be great in places that wind is available, if you are in the doldrums area, solar should be the prime source.
     
  10. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    I was about to take issue with the first part of this statement.... as usual, though, reading the whole thing makes more sense.

    I'm not a naval architect- I'm an engineering physicist. And, at present, my research work is in medical imaging and radiotherapy. At the same time, though, while I'm not formally a naval architecture student, I do consider myself to be a student of naval architecture- I buy books, I read them, I try to make use of the concepts that are presented, and I hassle people who know more than I do to see if I'm understanding things properly. The thing is, I've been doing this for about ten years, and only within the last two have I felt confident enough to try putting together a simple, complete design, from scratch, to match my own requirements. It will be another decade or so, at this pace, before I'll be ready to take on a seriously large, complex yacht design project.

    If you want to tackle the design of a boat, from first principles, from scratch- well, there just isn't enough time in an 8-month term to learn it all, not with all your other work and classes going on. So sit down and figure out what aspects you want to focus on. Maybe the electric system is the big thing (after all, that's an aspect that translates easily to cars- there is about to be some serious demand for inexpensive, 90%+ efficiency electric drive systems in the 10-100 kW range). Or maybe you can come up with some defined purpose and use profile, and see if you can outline a complete design to suit it. Sit down with your prof and figure out what (s)he is hoping you'll learn from this exercise.
     
  11. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I agree with Marshmat. Narrowing the scope of the project will help you. Often, if you just come up with a common sense answer it will not work. They may be looking for a "concept design". The hull alone can take a year. Consider what a team of designers spend on one race boat. There are considerations that will set limits to the design. For example, amount of cargo, crew capacity, lenght of passages, draft, docking constraints, weather in the area of operation, legal requirements, aesthetic needs, minimum speed, construction materials and budget to name a few. A chart or spreadsheet work well for the initial part of your project. This is the same as any other design. It will let you see what things are and are not acceptable. From there you can choose among the acceptable ones to start a design.
     
  12. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Matt

    I've been a naval architect for 20~25 years (depending if one considers the time at uni being a student too), and I'm still learning. There is always plenty to learn. The basics, whilst seem "easy" when minute aspects are taken, often out of context, on forums such as this, it does not do enough justice to the significant learning curve one goes through (as a naval architect) in understanding and acquiring the "basics" to design a boat. This is not meant in a patronising manner; it is true of any profession. It took me almost 10 years of uni and training and continuing education etc to become "fully qualified" to be a "professional" and chartered and member of international institutions etc etc. This doesn't happen in 8 months!

    Unfortunately, softwares tend to compress this learning curve, only into fooling the user that compressing the computation time also compresses the learning "time" and required comprehension too.

    Going back to the thread, George, you really need to look at your syllabus, your course objectives and the deliverables. Then having read and digested that, chat with your Prof's if you're unsure of the direction and depth that your thesis/project must take.

    Since, learning how to use software is ostensibly "child's" play and not worthy of a degree thesis, save for how the algorithms work and why. The end results, in these cases, is irrelevant!
     
  13. ENG Student
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    ENG Student Junior Member

    LOL God only knows...My inital Project was to design a folding bicycle...
    i guess the basic design principles are the same but applying them to different environments.

    In terms of the depth of the project i will be assessed, NOT on the design itself, but on how well the design process was implemented, analysis, system calculations etc.

    So far i have set out the following tasks

    Background Research
    Feasibility Study
    Technical Spec
    Concepts Generation
    Concept selection process
    Accurate Design Layout
    System and Detailed Design Calculations
    Structural and CFD Evaluation
    FMEA And Risk Analysis
    Component Drawings
    Assembly Drawings

    My project focus will be on the Solar/Wind System, but i still need to know the basics of boat design. Ive just requested "Principles of Yacht Design" and am looking at the "Principles of naval architecture" as we speak...i can tell ive got a hell of a lot to decipher LOL

    In terms of the type of boat, i have decieded to design a replacement for a pedal boat, so not really that complicated, i hope.

    Another question i'd like to ask.

    For the Electric drive i need to assess:

    1. Hull Drag
    2. Mechanical Losses
    3. Propellor Efficiency
    4. Cruising Speed and Power required
    5. Range
    6. Battery type and Number of batteries

    Are there any other major factors effecting the system drive which need to be considered?
     
  14. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    AWL drag.
     

  15. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    If you can "do what you like" so long as it satisfies their "..on how well the design process was implemented..", then do the bike!...or as Piston suggested, a solar powered car!
     
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