We describe the implementation of several recently developed boundary layer transition models into the overset computational fluid dynamics code, REX, developed at the University of Iowa, together with an evaluation of its capabilities and limitations for naval hydrodynamics applications. Models based on correlations and on amplification factor transport were implemented in one- and two-equation Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes turbulence models, including modifications to operate in crossflow. Extensive validation of the transition models implemented in REX is performed for several 2- and 3-dimensional geometries of naval relevance. Standard tests with extensive available experimental data include flat plates in zero pressure gradient, an airfoil, and sickle wing. More complex test cases include the propeller, P4119, with some experimental data available, and the generic submersible, Joubert BB2, with no relevant experimental data available, to validate the transition models. Simulations for these last two cases show that extensive regions of laminar flow can be present on the bodies at laboratory scale and field scale for small vessels, and the potential effects on resistance and propulsion can be significant.
Progress for prediction of attached, fully turbulent flows for practical aerodynamic and hydrodynamic applications has reached a relatively mature plateau. However, according to a recent comprehensive review of pacing items (Slotnick et al. 2014), the single largest hurdle for incorporating computational fluid dynamics (CFD) into the design process in the near future is the ability to accurately predict turbulent flows with boundary layer transition and separation. Transition can impact skin friction, heat transfer, noise, propulsion efficiency, and maneuverability. This is especially true at model scale and for small craft such as unmanned or autonomous surface and underwater vehicles.