Beginner requires help

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

  1. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    A solar car isn't going to be any simpler or easier than a boat. (I've worked on three of them.) Although it may be a bit more applicable to your automotive degree.

    You see, George, the steps you outlined in post #13 are pretty much what one would do for a car. You're given a design brief by Marketing: "We want something a bit smaller than our SUVs, with more room than our sedan, seats five plus baggage, and more driver-oriented than our van." All cars operate in pretty much the same environment under the same conditions, the only difference is what you carry in them and how you want it to feel to the driver.

    With boats, though, you have to clarify your requirements at the background research stage. If your boat's mission is to convey tourists along the Thames, almost everything about the design will be completely unlike what you'd get if it's meant to carry fishermen into the Atlantic.

    The conceptual design of a boat is a doable project in 8 months, if you're a quick study, but there's just no way to get a full design right down to assembly drawings in this timeframe as an undergrad. Sit down, now, and figure out how far you want to take this. You may find it prudent to just forget about some aspects of the project altogether, and focus on a few key aspects of it.
  2. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: Japan

    Ad Hoc Naval Architect


    Well said.

    I am currently advising another undergraduate, whom is in a similar position. At least his degree is in yatch & boat surveying. But his project is also the design and detailed structure of a boat. The course doesn't teach structural design, to the level required of a naval architect nor other aspects. So it begs the question, what is it you have been asked to do, that is really applicable to you and your course and more importantly, the course syllabus and content for the project!

    I used to advised and marked undergraduate thesis/projects for a number of years way back. The common theme is that students want to run before they can walk. Very few can. Hence find a topic that really interests you, at least you'll enjoy "doing" it, rather than slaving over it just to get a degree.

  3. Guest625101138

    Guest625101138 Previous Member

    I have been working on a similar project for a zero fuel coastal cruising boat.

    There are a few variations of the concept around. This is the latest I have posted on this forum:
    This is based on a stabilised monohull. This hull configuration gives adequate stability while having the low drag advantage of a long slender hull. There is some discussion of this concept here:

    I have established most of the parameters needed to execute this design. This video shows testing of my turbine in a mechanical drive in light wind:
    The boat in the video is also a stabilised monohull but the surface skimming outriggers are mounted outboard rather than being combined with the main hull.

    For determining hull drag you should read up on Michlet/GODZILLA. It will be faster and give better results that CFD. If the CFD is a requirement then use it to verify what GODZILLA produces.

    For propellers you will get good results from JavaProp. It is more flexible than being constrained by empirical curves for standard boat props. You should be able to get prop efficiencies around 90%. There is some useful prop comparison data here:

    I have not found any readily available software for designing turbines. I have my own and can help you with this if you want. The first step is to realise that land based turbines are designed for high power coefficient whereas you will be more interested in maximising turbine efficiency.

    I have done some testing on various electric motors. This video shows a Mars motor test in an outboard:
    The little batteries limited power to about 260W but the motor has a continuous rating of 4.5kW and peak of 9kW. A lot of power when you are considering a long, slender displacement hull.

    Lithium batteries are really the enabler for this concept. I have posted some links here:

    To get started you need to decide what the boat should carry and where it will operate. In the first iteration you will need to have some idea of the total displacement and what speed you would like to achieve.

    At small scale you really need to consider composite sandwich panel construction. If you are required to do FEA on the structure then you need ability to handle anisotropic materials. Aluminium would be tolerable for a larger scale craft.

    Sunpower panels are the most suitable panels I have found:
    You could look for better packaged one-off panels but they will be expensive. You have to decide on things like tracking for the panels.

    You should investigate MPPT controllers for both the panels and the turbine. This is also enabling technology.

    Rick W
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