Resistance Reduction of a High Speed Small Boat by Air Lubrication
The resistance reduction by an air lubrication effect of a large air cavity covering the hull bottom surface and the similarity relations involved have been investigated with a series of towing tank tests of three geometrically similar models. The test results of geometrically similar models have indicated that a large air cavity was formed beneath the bottom having a backward-facing step by artificially supplying air is effective for resistance reduction. The areas of air cavity and the required flow rates of air are directly related to the effective wetted surface area. The traditional extrapolation methods seem to be applicable to the estimation of the resistance in the tested range if corrections are made to account the changes in the frictional resistance caused by the changes in the effective wetted surface area. To investigate the effectiveness of air lubrication in improving the resistance performance of a practical ship, a small test boat having a backward-facing step under its bottom has been manufactured and speed trials in a river have been performed. Air has been supplied artificially into the downstream region of the bottom step to form a large air cavity covering the bottom surface. The results have confirmed the practical applicability of air lubrication for the resistance reduction of a small high-speed boat.
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