Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science - Physics



Major Professor

Dr. Nikolaos Giros

Second Advisor

Dr. Juliette Ioup


The innovative aspect of this research lies in the careful integration of cutting-edge technologies throughout the entire process of designing, fabricating, and testing the carbon fiber propeller for the 3-bladed horizontal axis ocean current turbine (OCT). SolidWorks software played a pivotal role in the initial design phase, enabling a meticulous and precise modeling of the propeller's geometry. The utilization of SolidWorks allowed for a detailed exploration of various design parameters, ensuring that the propeller's structure and form were optimized for performance in ocean current conditions. Moving beyond the realm of virtual design, the choice of carbon fiber as the fabrication material marked a significant leap towards enhancing the structural integrity and efficiency of the propeller. Carbon fiber's exceptional strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance make it an ideal candidate for marine applications, addressing the unique challenges posed by the harsh underwater environment. The decision to employ 3D printing technology further exemplifies the forward-thinking nature of this research. The additive manufacturing process not only allowed for the precise realization of the intricate propeller design but also showcased the adaptability of modern manufacturing techniques in the field of marine renewable energy. The ability to construct the propeller layer by layer, with high precision and customization, speaks to the potential scalability and versatility of this fabrication approach. The intersection of SolidWorks, carbon fiber, and 3D printing represents a synergy between computational design and advanced manufacturing, fostering a multidisciplinary approach that pushes the boundaries of traditional engineering methodologies.

The results obtained from the towing tank experiments not only affirmed the propeller's efficacy but also demonstrated a remarkable agreement with the predictions derived from both the Blade Element Momentum theory and Ansys Fluent simulations. This harmonious convergence between theoretical models and real-world experimentation serves as a testament to the accuracy and reliability of the numerical simulations. The towing tank experiments delved into various aspects of the propeller's behavior, including thrust generation, efficiency, and response to varying current speeds. The systematic data collected during these experiments provided valuable insights into the propeller's operational characteristics and highlighted its ability to harness energy from ocean currents effectively. The alignment between theoretical predictions and experimental outcomes not only validates the designed propeller but also reinforces the confidence in the predictive power of computational models in the context of ocean energy extraction.

In retrospect, the comparison between the experimental results and the numerical models offers a nuanced understanding of the propeller's dynamics. It allows for a critical examination of the strengths and limitations of each model, shedding light on discrepancies and providing guidance for future refinements. This analytical approach contributes to the ongoing discourse on the optimization of ocean current turbine designs, offering a blueprint for researchers and engineers seeking to enhance the efficiency and reliability of marine renewable energy systems. The successful integration of numerical predictions, experimental validation, and a thorough comparison of models establishes a comprehensive framework for evaluating the performance of novel turbine designs in a manner that extends beyond the confines of traditional theoretical analyses.

In conclusion, the holistic approach adopted in this research, from the virtual design phase using SolidWorks to the physical realization through 3D printing and experimental validation in the towing tank, reflects the dynamic landscape of contemporary engineering in the realm of marine renewable energy. The seamless integration of theoretical, computational, and experimental methodologies not only contributes to the specific field of ocean current turbines but also sets a precedent for future interdisciplinary research endeavors. The designed carbon fiber propeller, validated through a rigorous and multifaceted approach, emerges as a tangible solution with the potential to advance the frontier of sustainable energy extraction from ocean currents.


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