Abstract

Air entrainment and bubble generation by a hydrofoil bubble generator for ship drag reduction have been investigated using a small high-speed channel tunnel with the gap of 20 mm in National Maritime Research Institute (NMRI). A hydrofoil (NACA4412, chord length = 40 mm) was installed in the channel and an air induction pipe was placed above the hydrofoil. The flow rate of the entrained air was quantitatively measured by thermal air flow sensors at the inlet of the air induction pipe. The gas-liquid flow around the hydrofoil was visualized by a backlight method and recorded by a high-speed video camera. As the flow velocity in the channel increased, the negative pressure generated above the suction side of the hydrofoil lowered the hydrostatic pressure in the channel, then the atmospheric air was entrained into the channel flow. The entrained air was broken into small air bubbles by the turbulent flow in the channel. The threshold of air entrainment, the air flow rate, and gas-liquid flow pattern depends on Reynolds number, angle of attack (AOA), and hydrofoil type. We identified at least three modes of air entrainment behavior: intermittent air entrainment, stable air entrainment, and air entrainment with a ventilated cavity. At high flow speed in our experimental condition (9 m/s), a large volume of air bubbles was generated by this hydrofoil system (e.g. air flow rate was 50 l/min for NACA4412 at AOA 16 degrees), which has a high potential to reduce ship drag.

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