In 2020, maritime shipping carried more than $1.5 trillion worth of U.S. trade, more than any other mode of transportation. This shipping, however, comes with a cost. The maritime shipping industry contributes about 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and is predicted to keep increasing. One way to prevent this increase in emissions would be to optimize the propulsion of the freighters to allow them to travel further with less fuel. Toroidal propellers are a new type of propeller with a unique shape. Instead of having sharp blades, the blades curve back in on themselves which can increase efficiency. The technology has shown promise in drones and speedboats. TORUS intends to research the use of toroidal propellers on shipping freighters.
Team TORUS is an undergraduate research team that is part of the University of Maryland’s GEMSTONE research program. The goal of our research is to mathematically define and optimize a propeller for use on shipping freighters. Since toroidal propellers are fairly new, there are not many available models for them, and the ones that do exist are for speedboats or drones, so our first step will be creating a parameterized model aimed at shipping freighters. This model will aim to allow the geometry of the toroidal propeller to be edited based on parameters similar to that of a current propeller. Once this model is created, we will use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to find the optimal shape to create the greatest amount of thrust for a shipping freighter.
Donated Funds will go to manufacturing 3D-printed plastic prototypes, manufacturing a metal prototype, and computing time and storage on UMD’s supercomputer to run CFD simulations.
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