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Since 1948, IIHR has been an important player in enhancing U.S. naval ship performance through front-line research in hydrodynamics. IIHR’s unique combination of resources, facilities, and top researchers promises an ongoing leading role for the University of Iowa in naval ship hydrodynamics.

IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa is leading a revolution in naval ship design. This website provides information on past and current research efforts at IIHR in the field of ship hydrodynamics.


“Landlocked Iowa Leads the World in Ship Hydrodynamics” (Read more …)

Simulation-Based Design

No longer must the navy “build and test” its ships — with real sailors aboard, risking their lives — to find out how they will perform under real-life stresses. Researchers at IIHR are using simulation-based design (SBD) — a sort of virtual reality of ship hydrodynamics, supported by scale-model experiments — to develop a safer, less expensive way to design modern high-performance naval vessels.

The ship hydrodynamics group is comprised of research staff, postdoctoral associates, visiting scholars, and graduate and undergraduate students working at IIHR, a research institute within the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa. This group focuses on the areas of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and experimental fluid dynamics (EFD).

Groundbreaking Code

Professor Fred Stern, an IIHR research engineer, leads the ship hydrodynamics group. Under Stern’s leadership, researchers at IIHR have developed a groundbreaking computer code, CFDShip-Iowa, simulating air and water flow around a virtual ship. This Reynolds-averaged Navier Stokes computer program allows researchers to predict the performance of a virtual ship prototype under different conditions. CFDShip-Iowa is the most advanced computational fluid dynamic (CFD) computer code in the world for ship hydrodynamics. Already in use in several recent navy design efforts, CFDShip-Iowa is one important reason IIHR remains a leader in hydrodynamic research sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.

Computer simulations at IIHR are complemented by model-scale physical experiments.

Computer simulations at IIHR are complemented by model-scale physical experiments.

Simulation-based design (SBD) at IIHR is complemented by scale-model physical experiments conducted in a towing tank and  in an enormous state-of-the-art wave basin at the University of Iowa’s Research Park. This combination of computer simulation and experimental modeling is putting IIHR at the cutting edge of research in ship hydrodynamics.This website has links that list current and past personnel, current projects, and collaborations with other national and international institutions. Information regarding CFDShip-Iowa and its availability and usage is provided in the CFD link.

Validation and Verification

EFD results are assessed for accuracy with standard uncertainty analysis procedures. EFD validation data and descriptions of the experimental measurement systems are in the EFD link. A comprehensive listing of publications from members of the ship hydrodynamics group from 1980–present is available from the Publications menu and includes journal articles, conference proceedings, reports, book chapters, and M.S. and Ph.D. theses. References that are not available in pdf format may be obtained from IIHR (see instructions in the publications links).

The IIHR ship hydrodynamics group has traditionally relied on graduate student involvement to grow and move forward. The ship hydrodynamics team offers an excellent opportunity to earn an advanced degree. If you are interested in earning a graduate degree at IIHR as a member of the ship hydrodynamics group, please contact IIHR.

Last modified on July 26th, 2018
Posted on March 13th, 2012