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Figure 1
project photo

Figure 2
project photo

Mechanical Engineering
Team 27

Team Members

Advisor

Ryan Crisanti
Dhruv Kekare
Kurt Zarba

Tai-Hsi Fan

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Hydrodynamics Optimization for Unmanned Underwater Glider

LBI is a small marine engineering company located in Groton, CT. The company has done work with the US Navy, NOAA, Electric Boat, and the Office of Naval Research, among others. The project at hand is the optimization of an unmanned glider, known as the Hummingbird glider. The Hummingbird glider utilizes a bladder system that allows for the control of its buoyancy. This, in conjunction with a set of hydrofoil wings, allows for the glider to move through the water in a sinusoidal-like travel path without the use of a traditional propulsion system. This allows the glider to take on long-range missions because very little energy is required.
Our team was tasked with optimizing the geometry of the glider in order to improve performance and extend the range of the glider. This process started with building computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models of the glider components and progressed forward with the creation of an overall system model, as well as experimental validation of our CFD results. With our validated CFD models and the system model, suggestions were made that improved overall glider performance.