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J. Marine Sci. App l.

(2012) 11: 301 304

DOI: 10.1007/s11804-012-1136-z

Micro-bubble Drag Reduction on

a High Speed Vessel Model
Yanuar 1*, Gunawan 1, Sunaryol andA. Jamaluddin 2
1. Depar. ent 01 Mechanical Engineering, University olIndonesia, Jakarta 16424, 1ndonia
2. 1ndonesian drodynamic Laborato ry, Surabaya 60111 , 1ndonesia

Abstract: Ship hull fonn ofthe underwater area strongly inf1 uences the resistance ofthe ship. The m or factor
in ship resistance is skin iction resistance. Bulbous bows , polymer paint, water repellent paint (highly
water-repellent wall) , air injection, and specific roughness have been used by researchers as an aempt to
obtain the resistance reduction and operation efficiency of ships. Micro-bubble injection is a promising
technique for lowering ictional resistance. The injected air bubbles are supposed somehow modify the
energy inside the turbulent boundary layer and thereby lower the sn iction. The purpose of this study was to
identify e effect of injected micro bubbles on a navy fast pa01 boat (FPB) 57 m type model with the
following main dimensions: L=2 450 mm, B=400 un and T= 190 mm. The inf1uence of the location of micro
bubble irjection and bubble velocity was also investigated. The ship model was pulled by an electric motor
whose speed could be varied and adjusted. The ship model resistance was precisely measured by a load cell
transducer. Comparison of ship resistance with and without micro-bubble inj ction was shown on a graph as a
function of the drag coefficient and Froude number. It was shown that micro bubble inj ction behind the
mid-ship is the best location to achieve the most effective drag reduction, and the drag reduction caused by the
micro-bubbles can reach 6%-9%.
Keywords: ship modeI test; micro-bubble injection; drag reduction; high speed vessel model
Article ID: 1671-9433(2012)03-0301-04

1 Introduction
Ship resistance reduction has been one of the m or targets
of research and development by naval architects for a long
time. Resistance characteristics are principal aspects of the
ship design spiral as they are strongly coupled with speed
and fuel economy and, consequently, the operating and
cost efficiencies of the vesse l. Micro bubbles present one
of the most promising methods for the reduction of skin
friction resistance. Documented drag reduction techniques
include electrolysis induced micro-bubbles , reported by
McCormick and Bhattacharyya (1 973). The survey of
Latorre and Bablenko (1998) showed that the r duction in
the local skin friction is sensitive to the bubble orientation
on the surface. Madavan et al. (1 985) carried out an
experimnt using the boundary layer of the test sction
wall of a water tunnel with injection of air om a porous
plate. The result showed that the injection of
micro-bubbles in the turbulent boundary layer of a flat
plate can reduce the drag by 15%-80%. The bubble size
and location of the injection points are important
parameters in the persistence of drag reduction. The
relationship between the bubble size and the drag reduction
was examined by Kato et al. (1 994). The results showed
Received date: 2011-07-12
Foundation item: Supported by the Directorate for Research and
Community Seice University of Indonesia (RUUI Research Laboratory
2010) , Jakarta, Indonesia.
*Corresponding author Email: .id
Harbin Engineering University and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

that the decrease in the bubble size according to the

increase in the main flow velocity wascaused a larger
reduction rate of skin friction. Experiments by Watanabe
and Shiros (1998) and Takahashi et al. (2001) indicatd
that air lubrication did not persist over length/time scales.
Micro-bubble drag reduction for a flat plate and low speed
vessel has been investigated by many researchers. Kato et al.
(1998) used a tanker model for experimentation and showed
that the bottom air film escapes around the hull sides
without the use of longitudinal air guards set at the bilge.
For tankers and barges with moderate length to beam LlB
hulls , the bottom air covers a large percentage of the wetted
surface. Latorre et al. (2003) investigated a micro-bubbles
influence on a fast catamaran type boat and concluded that a
drag reduction of about 6% occurred. The possibilities of
micro-bubble drag reduction in high speed vessels require a
development procedure for drag reduction performance. As
a contribution to developing a high-speed micro-bubble drag
reduction system for high speed vessels , this study aims to
present the comparative results um an Indonesian Navy
pa01 boat (FPB 57) model with and without micro-bubbles
on the bottom hull sides. The ppose of this study is to
identi f)r the effect of the injected micro bubbles on reducing
total resistance. A boat model with dimensions of L = 2 450
mm, B = 400 mm, and T = 190 mm is used. The influence of
the location micro-bubble injection and bubble velocity are
also investigatd.



2 Experimental set-ups
A series of model tests were conducted in a basin. The basin
had a length of 50 m and width of 40 m, and the water depth
was maintained at a constant depth of 2 m. The experiments
were conducted for a Froude number of up to 0.65. The
model was connected to the load ce l1 transducer at a point
located amidships and vertical1y above the base line ,

et al. Micro-bubble Drag Reduction on a High Speed Vessel Model

al10wing the model to move freely in the vertical plane.

Total resistance was measured for each run over the test
range of Froude numbers. In the resistance tests , the ship
model was pul1 ed by a wire rope and the total longitudinal
force acting on the model was measured for various speeds.
During the measuring run the ship model was ee to heave
and pitch. Fig. 1 shows the experimental sep in the basin

Camera 2

Camera I




au Lo




Port distribution--..J

Fig. 1 Experimental set-up

This set-up consisted ofthe ship models , electric motor, data
interface, camera, load cel1 anemometer, and compressor.
The comparison of the total drag between ship models with
micro-bubbles and without micro-bubbles injection was
analyzed. The model test was conducted in order to have the
total resistance values of the ship model (R T) at various
v e10city conditions (. During the model test experiments ,
the model ship was pul1ed by an electric motor that was
designed so that motor rotation could be used to pul1 the ship
model with a constant speed. Pul1 force was measured by
using a load cel1 transducer. The load cel1 was affixed to the
ship model and connected to the rope pul1ers. The load cel1
was mounted on the amidships of the model. Towing rope
was connected to an elecic motor whose speed could be set
and adjusted. The load cel1 gauge was connected to a data
interface to obtain the pul1 force when the ship was pul1ed
Bubble injection was positioned at around the mid ship
bottom. Distance between the bubble injectors was varied by
5 cm.
Fig. 2 shows the lines plan for test model. The bubble
injectors e placed behind the mid-ship. Positions varied
om position 1, position 2 , and position 3. These positions
were investigated and compared regarding the influence of
micro-bubble injection. Position 1 was 5 cm in front of the
midship position 2 was exactly at midship , and position 3
was 5 cm behind the midship. The nozzle diameter was the
same as that with the bubble diameter of about 0.5 mm.

Injection point of microbubbles

Position3 0_.:.:__


Fig. 2 Lines plan and positioning bubble injector

3 Test analyses
Froude's hypothsis and similarity law is followed in the
extrapolation of the resistance test results. According to
Froude's hypothesis the resistance of a ship (or of its model)
can be split up into two independent components; one (the
viscous component) is proportional to the (ictional)
resistance of a flat plate of the same length and wetted
surface when towed at the same speed, and another
resistance component fo l1 ows Froude's similarity law.
The total resistance coefficient can be defmed as:

Cr + (1 + k)Cf


Journal 01 Marine Sc ience and Application (2012) 11: 301-304


where CT is the coefficient of total resistance, Cr the

coefficient of residual resistance the coefficint of
iction resistance , and (1 +k) the fonn factor.
The fonn factor +l' is detennined experimentally at very
low speed or low Froude numbers (Fr< 0.2) , where Cr must
become negligible. The ITTC (2002) and Bertram (2000)
recommended applying Prohaska's method, described as:
CT =(I+k)CF +aFr n


At low speed, F r< O.2, is assumed to be a function of Fr , the

saight line plot of C y/ CF versus Fr /CF wi1l intersect the
ordinate (Fr= O) at (1 + enabling the fonn factor to be
detennined. Flat plate iction resistance (CF ) is etimated
with a reasonable precision using ITTC-57.
From the experimental towing test results , for the models ,
the total resistance coefficient CT has been ca1culated as:



0.5p Y

water density and S the wetted area of the ship

The Froudes number and Reynolds number are defmed as






micro-bubble , injection has a value of CT, which is relatively

higher at low speeds. When the Froude number increases
further, Fr>0 .46 , in a certain range of values of C T smaller
than the ship model without micro bubbles. The effects can
be seen in the micro-bubble injection at high Froude
numbers where the turbulent flow drag coefficient of
resistance is smaller. On the other hand, it was found that the
value of CT depends on the position of the bubble injector. It
appears that th ship model with bubble injection at position
3, has a smallest value of CT This result agrees well with the
experimental work of Kodama et al. (2000) at a circulating
water tunnel. In that study it was found that the skin iction
reduction was much greater when the position of bubbls
was located at the rear. It can be conc1uded that the injector
position has an effect on the value of the resistance
coefficient. The dashed lin indicates the resistance
coefficient of a flat plate.
Fig. 4 shows the total resistance coefficient ratio as a
function of air thickness. The horizontal axis is the rate of
air ejection in tenns of the layer thickness. As the flux of
iniected air increases , the total resistance coefficient
decreases. The effective air layer thickness is 4 mm because
in this area the ship model speed is 4 rn/s and has the best
perfonnance. The resistance coefficient ratio for position 3
is slightly higher than for position 2 and position 1. This
indicates that position 3 is the best position to reduce the
total resistance that occurred.

where V is the speed of the ship , L the length of the ship , g

acceleration of gravity, and v the kinematic viscosity of


The micro-bubble characteristics can be detennined by the

following fonnulas. The air layer thickness is:



Ba V

DR(%) = 1~T -=-.1.100%



Position 2

- -Position


- Flatplate


where Qa is the injected air rate , Ba the width ofthe slot, and
V the velocity of ship model. Drag reduction is obtained by:

IC,. -CTrl I

---Ship without bubble










Fig. 3 Total resistance coefficient of ship with and without

micro bubble

where CTO is the total coefficient resistance without

micro-bubble inj tion and C T is the total coefficient
resistance with micro bubbles.

0.96 ~





- ,

A comparison with the micro bubbles and without the micro

-bubbles applied to e ship model was made to evaluate the
resistance characteristics as shown in Figs. 3-5.

t. Position 3

4 Results and discussion

1. 00


Fig. 3 shows the relationship between the total resistance

coefficient and Froude number for vessels with micro
bubbles and without micro bubbles. The ship model with
iniected micro bubbles will be varied for 3 variations of
injector positioning. It appears that the ship model with


ta(mm) = Qal~V
Fig. 4 Relationship between total coefficient ratio and air

Yanua r, et al. Micro-bubble Drag Reduction on a

Fig. 5 Relationsbip between drag reduction and Froude

Fig. 5 shows the drag reduction that occurred. It is clear that
drag reduction for position 3 is greater than position 1 and
position 2. The drag reduction starts at a Froude number of
about 0 .3 4 (V=22 kn). As the Froude number increases , drag
reduction also increases. An effective drag reduction ofup to
9% at F r= 0.55 (V=25 kn) can be gained for this study.

High 'peed

Vessel Model

and Fluid Flow, 21 , 582-588.

Latorre R, Bablenko V (1 998). Role of bubble injection technique
in drag reduction. Proc. ONR-NUWC lntemational mposium
on Seawater Drag Reduction, Newport, 319-326.
Latorre R , Miller A , Philips R (2003). Microbubble resistance
reduction on a rnodel SES catarnaran. Joumal of Ocean
Engineering, 30, 2297-2309.
Madavan NK, Deutsch S, Merkle CL (1985). Measurernents of
local skin iction in a rnicro-bubble-rnodified turbulent
boundary layer. Joumal ofFluid Mechanic, 156, 237-256
McCorrnick ME, Bhattacharyya R (1 973). Drag reduction of a
subrnersible hull by electrolysis. M EngJoumal 11-16.
Takahashi T, Kakugawa A , Kodarna Y, Mo M (2001).
Experirnental study on drag reduction by rnicrobubbles using a
50rn-long flat splate ship. 2nd lnt. Jmp. on Turbulence and
Shear Flow Phenomena, Stockholrn, Sweden, 175-180.
Wataabe 0 , Masuko A , Shirose Y (1 998). Measurernents of drag
reduction by rnicrobubbles using very long ship rnodels
Joumal of Soc. Mval Architects, 183, 53-63.
Yanuar received his B.S. degree in Naval
University of Indonesia ,
Indonesia, in 1986. He then received his Master of
Eng. and Doctor of Eng. in Mechanical
Engineering from University of Tokyo
Metropolitan, Japan , in 1995 and 1998 ,
respectivel Professor at Mechanical Engineering
at University of Indonesia in Jakar Indonesia
His research project is about drag reduction in
internal flow or ekstemal flow

5 Conclusions
Considering the experimental model test results to evaluate
the micro-bubble drag reduction on a high speed vessel, the
following conclusions can be stated; micro-bubble
application to ships is found to have a positive influence on
ship resistance. Th e application of micro-bubbles can reduce
the ship resistance significantly for a high speed vessel. The
test results show that an effective drag reduction ofup to 9%
at F r= 0 .5 5 (V = 25 kn) can be achieved. The air flow rate
and location of the injection position are significant for
achieving e maximum drag reduction. Micro-bubble
injection behind the mid-ship is the best location for
effective drag reduction. It is expected that more work will
be carried out in order to gain further understanding on this
topic , in order to apply the method to full-scale ships.

Bertrarn V (2000). Practical ship hydronamics. Bu:erwor
Heinernan Linacre House , Jorda Hill Oxford 0 X2 8DP, UK.,
ITTC (2002). Testing and extrapolation rnethods in resistance
towing tank tests. Recornrnended Procedures and Guidelines.
Kato H , Miyanaga M , Yarnaguchi H (1994). Frictional drag
reduction by injecting bubbly water into a turbulent boundary
layer and the effect of plate orientation. ln: Serizawa A , Fukano
T, Bataille J (eds). Advanced in Multiphase Flow. Elsevier,
Arnsterdarn, 86-96.
Kato H , Miura K, Yarnaguchi H , Miyanaga M (1998). Experirnental
study on rnicrobubble ~ ection rnethod for ictional drag
reduction. Joumal of Marine Science and Technology, 3(
Kma y, Kakugawa A , Takahashi T, Kawashima H (2000).
Experirnental study on rnicro bubbles and their applicability to
ships for skin iction reduction. lntemational Joumal of Heat

Gunawan received his B. S. degree in Naval

Architecture from University of Indonesia,
Indonesia, in 2010. He then received his Master of
Eng. in Naval

Architecture om

University of

Indonesia, Indonesia, in 2012. Now, He joins as

young 1ecturer in his University. His research

project is about how to reduce ictional resistance
in under water body.

Sunaryo ived his B. S. degree in Naval

Architecture from University of Indonesia,
Indonesia , in 1982. He en received his Master of
Phi l. And PhD in Naval Architecture from
University of Sathc1yde Glasgow, U.K. in 1989
and 1993. Now, He is a Head ofProgram in Naval
Architecture and Marine Enginering in University
of Indonesia.. His research project is about Ship
Production Management.

A. Jama1uddin is seor research fellow at e

Indonesian Hydrodynarnics Laboratory (IHL) at
Surabaya - Indonesia. He received his M.Sc. in
Marine Technology om the University of
Strathclyde, Glasgow, U.K. in 1991 and PhD in
Naval Architecture from Institut Teknologi Sepuluh
Nopember (ITS) at Surabaya - Indonesia in 2012.
His research is about some technique to reduce
ictional resistance on ship model