Propulsor Hydrodynamics and Hydroacoustics

This program explores science and technology (S&T) related to the physics of fluid flow around propulsors to improve the Navy’s propulsor design capability for improved stealth, efficiency, and mobility. The long-term vision of this program is to provide the ship and submarine communities with quiet, efficient and affordable propulsor concepts (options) and capabilities (knowledge base and computational tools and methods) that would meet the emerging mission requirements through: development of the knowledge base of the governing physics; development of accurate, reliable and robust predictive/simulation tools and methods for propulsor design and performance analyses; and the exploration and demonstration of novel propulsor concepts at laboratory scale.

This work supports the Navy’s interest in advanced sea platform performance S&T, advanced sea platform survivability S&T, submarine S&T and naval engineering

Research Concentration Areas

  • Provide the technical foundation necessary to develop new and novel propulsor concepts for the U.S. Navy’s next generation of warships/platforms with stealth superiority.
  • Significantly reduce/eliminate the cavitation on propeller/propulsor and appendages and its detrimental effects (radiated noise, material erosion, hull vibration, efficiency loss) through understanding and control of cavitation dynamics (inception, growth and collapse).
  • Understand the noise generation and propagation mechanism resulting from interactions between turbulent boundary layer and 3-dimensional bodies with various surface discontinuities with and without pressure gradients.
  • Understand the physics of spatially and temporally varying turbulent flow interacting with, and ingested by, propulsors and resulting sound generation mechanism; and develop sound mitigation strategies.

Research Challenges and Opportunities

  • Develop accurate propulsor model in conjunction with 6-degrees-of-freedom vehicle dynamics in waves (maneuvering and seakeeping), including extreme maneuvers such as crashback operations.
  • Develop foundational advances in high-fidelity, computational prediction methods and experimental measurement techniques of propeller cavitation dynamics (inception, growth, collapse) including nuclei effects, focusing on tip gap flow.
  • Develop knowledge base and predictive capability of radiated sound mechanism due to ingested turbulence by propulsors (turbulent ingestion noise) and due to interaction of turbulent boundary layer with the 3-D surfaces (flow noise) through integrated analytical, computational and experimental approach.
  • Explore and demonstrate at lab-scale novel propulsor concepts that would improve stealth and efficiency.

UPDATED: November 2020

Program Contact Information

Name: Dr. Ki-Han Kim

Title: Program Officer

Department: Code 331

Email for Questions:

How to Submit

For detailed application and submission information for this research topic, please see our Funding Opportunities page and refer to broad agency announcement (BAA) No. N00014-21-S-B001.

  • Contracts: All white papers and full proposals for contracts must be submitted through FedConnect; instructions are included in the BAA.
  • Grants: All white papers for grants must be submitted through FedConnect, and full proposals for grants must be submitted through; instructions are included in the BAA.

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