Recent increases in the availability of low-cost composites and improvements in the reliability of manufacturing techniques lead to an increase in the use of composites for marine propulsion systems. In addition to the obvious advantage of low mass and high specific weight, the anisotropic characteristics of composites can also be exploited to improve the hydrodynamic performance by automatically adjusting the shape of the blade. The objective of this work is to develop a numerical tool to predict the hydroelastic response of composite marine propellers. This is achieved by coupling a 3-D boundary element method (BEM) with a 3-D finite element method (FEM) to predict the interaction between blade deformation and fluid pressure variation on the blade. An overview of the numerical algorithm is presented, along with experimental validation study of a composite propeller tested at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD).

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