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International Journal of Rotating Machinery
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 3458750, 12 pages
Research Article

Flettner Rotor Concept for Marine Applications: A Systematic Study

Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, Via Claudio 21, 80125 Naples, Italy

Received 19 January 2016; Revised 31 May 2016; Accepted 15 June 2016

Academic Editor: Ryoichi Samuel Amano

Copyright © 2016 A. De Marco et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The concept of Flettner rotor, a rotating cylinder immersed in a fluid current, with a top-mounted disk, has been analyzed by means of unsteady Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes simulations, with the aim of creating a suitable tool for the preliminary design of the Flettner rotor as a ship’s auxiliary propulsion system. The simulation has been executed to evaluate the performance sensitivity of the Flettner rotor with respect to systematic variations of several parameters, that is, the spin ratio, the rotor aspect ratio, the effect of the end plates, and their dimensions. The Flettner rotor device has been characterized in terms of lift and drag coefficients, and these data were compared with experimental trends available in literature. A verification study has been conducted in order to evaluate the accuracy of the simulation results and the main sources of numerical uncertainty. All the simulation results were used to achieve a surrogate model of lift and drag coefficients. This model is an effective mathematical tool for the preliminary design of Flettner rotor. Finally, an example of assessment of the Flettner rotor performance as an auxiliary propulsion device on a real tanker ship is reported.