Research Summaries

Back Impact of Autonomous Robot Assisted Proactive Grooming on Underwater Hull Cleanliness

Fiscal Year 2022
Division Research & Sponsored Programs
Department Naval Research Program
Investigator(s) Didoszak, Jarema M.
Kwon, Young W.
Sponsor NPS Naval Research Program (Navy)
Summary Ships are continuously under attack from marine growth. This ever-present issue stems from biodiverse micro and macro marine organisms attaching and spreading along the underwater hull surface. While problematic for various reasons it is primarily an issue for Navy vessels due to the serious corrosion effects, unwanted resulting vessel noise signature, constriction of fluid flow through seawater chests, and increased penalties to fuel efficiency. The accumulation of biofoulers increases the hydrodynamic volume and hydrodynamic friction of the ship thus substantially increasing fuel consumption while robbing the ship of power and speed. Management of marine biofouling via proactive underwater ships husbandry not only has the potential to reduce the overall time a ship is in dry-dock but also mitigates these costly detractors while retaining the ship in a more ideal operational status.

Aside from the millions of dollars in potential fuel cost savings across the fleet, periodic removal of biological fouling via remotely operated vehicles or through labor-intensive manual grooming methods is shown to reduce the adverse environmental impacts (e.g. CO2 emissions) over-reactive cleaning. Currently, research is underway to better understand the regional and local influence of seawater temperature and impacts associated with biodiversity on the efficacy of proactive grooming. The frequency of the periodic cleaning cycle is also being investigated via testing of submerged hull-plate specimen in multiple geographically diverse locations.

This study seeks to address the effectiveness of proactive hull cleaning via further in-depth examination of reported cleaning periodicities and their effects, the applicability to various hull geometries and surface preparations, and/or unique coatings beyond those traditionally used in surface ships. In addition, the authors seek to explore the expanded use of ROV/Autonomous devices performing removal of marine growth on the hull. The correlation of cost benefits tied to recommended proactive cleaning schemes, potential ROV/Autonomous systems and their utilization as part of this periodic underwater ships husbandry approach will be explored through the development of functional relationships and documented in a summary report.
Keywords Biofouling Fuel Efficiency ROV Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) hull fouling hull grooming ship husbandry unmanned underwater vehicles
Publications Publications, theses (not shown) and data repositories will be added to the portal record when information is available in FAIRS and brought back to the portal
Data Publications, theses (not shown) and data repositories will be added to the portal record when information is available in FAIRS and brought back to the portal