Cavitation Tunnel


Main Parameters of the Sensors
Parameter R37 R35X
Components in x direction (x) [N] 800 500
Components in y direction (y1, y2) [N] 800
Components in z direction (z1, z2, z3) [N] 500


Main Parameters of the Dynamometers
Parameter J25 H36 R45
Propeller thrust Tmax [N] 3000 2000 400
Propeller torque Qmax [Nm] 150 100 15
Propeller speed nmax [s-1] 60 50 50
Shaft angle [°] +15 bis -10

The SVA Potsdam operates the K15A cavitation tunnel from Kempf & Remmers. There are two measurement sections available. The length between the two vertical parts of the cavitation tunnel is 12 m, the height between the horizontal parts is 7 m. The impeller of the cavitation tunnel is powered by a 100 kW DC motor.

The cavitation tunnel has J25 and H36 dynamometers. Both dynamometers can be operated alone or together, so that tests with counter rotating and/or tandem propellers can be performed. In addition, the water- and pressure-tight R45 type inner drive dynamometer is available for special tests (i.e. overlapping propellers).

The velocity in the test section of the cavitation tunnel is determined from the pressure differential ahead of and behind the nozzle (Venturi principle). The pressure in the test section and the atmospheric pressure are also measured with pressure sensors.

For the measurement of forces on profiles, lifting surfaces, nozzles and rudders, the R37 and R35x sensors are available. By default, local speeds are measured with a laser (Powersight LDV (TSI)). For the measurement of velocity fields, a PIV measurement system from TSI can also be used.

In the small test section, cavitation tests with propellers for fast ships, special tests such as measurements on profiles and wings, speed measurement with LDV or PIV, erosion tests and calibrations of speed measurement systems are predominantly performed.

The investigation of the cavitation behaviour of propellers in the wake field of a vessel and the measurement of the propeller induced pressure fluctuations take place in the large measurement section of the cavitation tunnel. The simulation of the wake field, calculated for the full-scale Reynolds number, is made with a dummy model and additional screens [1], [2], [3], [4]. The H36 dynamometer is integrated in the dummy model. The dummy models are up to 2.60m long and geometrically similar to the ship in the stern area. Pressure sensors are arranged in the dummy model above the propeller. Standard in the SVA, the CFD calculated wake field of the full-scale model is simulated with a dummy model and additional screens.

For the investigation of the cavitation behavior of thrusters, podded drives and Voith-Schneider propellers or steering propellers, special measurement systems have been developed. The same goes for power and torque measurements on individual blades of adjustable pitch propellers at cavitation similarity.

Please read more about the various tests and test objects in the Cavitation Tunnel here.

Technical Specifications of the Test Sections
Parameter Test Section 1 Test Section 2
Measurement section length 2600 mm 2600 mm
Measurement section area 600 mm x 600 mm 850 mm x 850 mm
Contraction ratio of the nozzle 5.96 : 1 2.93 : 1
Maximum speed in the test section 13 m/s 7.5 m/s
Variation of the measurement section pressure -970 mbar bis 1200 mbar -950 mbar bis 1200 mbar


Context Related References / Research Projects

[1] Selke, W., Heinke, H.-J.: Propelleruntersuchungen im Kavitationstunnel der Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt Potsdam, Jahrbuch der STG, 84. Band, 1990
[2] Schmidt, D., Selke, W., Gerchev, G.: Comparative Joint Investigations in the Cavitation Tunnels of SVA and BSHC on the Prediction of Propeller-Induced Pressure Pulses, Schiffbauforschung 31 (1992) 1
[3] Heinke, H.-J.: The Influence of Test Parameters and Wake Field Simulation on the Cavitation and the Propeller Induced Pressure Fluctuations, Jahrbuch der Schiffbautechnischen Gesellschaft, 97. Band, 2003
[4] Kleinwächter, A., Hellwig-Rieck, K., Ebert, E., Kostbade, R., Heinke, H.-J., Damaschke, N. A.: PIV as a Novel Full-Scale Measurement Technique in Cavitation Research, Fourth International Symposium on Marine Propulsors, smp’15, Austin, Texas, USA, 2015

Velocity fields can be measured nearly instantaneously, with high accuracy and high spatial and temporal resolution by means of a LDV-system. Laser measurements are performed routinely in the SVA since 1985. For this application SVA provides compact probes with integrated solid-state laser (PowerSight probe from TSI). The probes are portable and flexible in use. In the cavitation tunnel, a 2D LDV is mainly used. In the towing tank and for mobile tasks primarily a 1D system is applied. Both compact probes can be combined into a 3D measuring system. When a submersible probe is required, a waterproof 2D probe (83 mm diameter) can be coupled to the laser module via optical fibers.

LDV_SVA_2_small LDV_SVA_1_small LDV_DST_small


Technical specifications
2D PowerSight probe with 500 mW DPSS laser (561 nm and 531 nm) and 3 channel photomultiplier and signal processor
1D PowerSight probe with 200 mW DPSS laser 553 nm with 1 channel photomultiplier and signal processor
Use as 3D LDV possible
Beam spacing 50mm, lenses 250, 350, 500, 600 mm, minimum measurement volume length 0.7 mm, diameter 62 microns
Computer-controlled 3D traversing

H39_R37 - Ruderdüse_smallDSC00790_small




Ruderdüsensystem im KT_small

Ducted Propellers

Kempf & Remmers dynamometers are used for propeller drives. The forces at the nozzle are measured with Kempf & Remmers single and multi-component balances that are coupled to the dynamometers.

Main Paramters Dynamometer/Balances for Ducted Propellers
FK1/R35I H29/R35X H39/R35X H39/R37 H36/R35X J25/R37
Thrust Tmax [N] * 400 1000 1000 2000 3000
Torque Qmax [Nm] * 15 50 50 100 150
Nozzle Thrust TDmax [N] 200 500 500 800 500 800
* Using Interior Drive Dynamometer


Contra-rotating Propeller

The SVA has the Kempf & Remmers contra-rotation dynamometer R40 for open water and propulsion testing. Open water tests with contra-rotating propellers can also be performed via the coupling of the H29 and H39 dynamometers in the towing tank. For the investigation of contra-rotating propellers, the K15A cavitation tunnel was equipped with J25 and H36 dynamometers from Kempf & Remmers. The dynamometers can be arranged in the measurement section so that measurements with contra-rotating propellers are possible at different distances.

Main Paramaters Dynamometer/Balances for Contra-rotating Propellers
FK4/R40/R35I H29/H39/R35X J25/H36/R35X
Thrust Tmax1 [N] 150 400 3000
Thrust Tmax2 [N] 150 1000 2000
Torque Qmax1 [Nm] 6 15 150
Torque Qmax2 [Nm] 6 50 100
Housing Resistance TPodmax [N] 200 500 500


Thrusters and Podded Drives

Model tests with azimuthing thrusters and podded drives are a focus of the work of the SVA. For the realisation of measurement tasks in open water, cavitation, propulsion and manoeuvring, different propulsion and measuring systems have been developed by the SVA. The system forces of the thruster and podded drive are measured with 3- or 6-component balances.

Main Parameters Balances for SVA Thruster Dynamometer
R37SR1/SR2 R37SR3/SR4 R37 R200
Forces Fx1 = Fy1 = Fy2 [N] 200 500 800 1000
Fz1 = Fz1 = Fz2 [N] 1000 500 2000
Turntable Fx [N] 100 100 manual 5000
Fy [N] 100 100 3400
Fz [N] 600 600 5000
Mx1 = My [Nm] 500
Mz [Nm] 15 15 60

The drive of the propeller and the measurement of the forces and moments on the propeller are carried out with SVA thruster dynamometers. Thruster dynamometers are available at the SVA for tests with thrusters or podded drives with pull, push, twin and contra-rotating propellers.

Main Parameters SVA Thruster Dynamometer for Single Propeller Systems
Z65/1 – /4 Z200 Z600/4, Z600/6
Thrust Tmax [N] 50 200 600
Torque Qmax [Nm] 1 7 20
Transmission * 1.615:1 2:1
Housing Resistance TPodmax [N] 200 500 500
Total Torque QGmax [Nm] 1 2.4 17
* Drive with an electric motor in the housing


Main Parameters SVA Thruster Dynamometer for Double Propeller Systems
TP200/1…/2 TP400/1…/2 CRP400 CRP600
Thrust Tmax [N] 200 400 400 600
Torque Qmax [Nm] 7 20 20 20
Transmission 1.1 2.1 2:1 2:1
Total Torque QGmax [Nm] 6 17 17 17


Context Related References/Research Themes

[1] Gutsche, F.: Düsenpropeller in Theorie und Experiment, Jahrbuch der STG, Bd.53, 1959
[2] Schroeder, G.: Wirkungsgrad von Düsenpropellern mit unterschiedlicher Düsen- und Propellerform, Schiffbautechnik, 1967
[3] Heinke, H.-J.; Philipp, O.: Development of a skew blade shape for ducted controllable pitch propeller systems, Proceedings, PROPCAV’95, Newcastle, 1995
[4] Schulze, R.; Manke, H.: Propellersysteme mit Ostdüsen“, HANSA, 137, 2, 2000
[5] Schmidt, D.: Propulsionsuntersuchungen mit Einzelpropeller und Gegenlaufpropeller am Modell eines Containerschiffes, Schiffbauforschung 14 1/2/1975
[6] Heinke, H.-J.: Azimuthing propulsion – Experiences of SVA, 6. SVA – Forum „Azimuthing Propulsion – new challenges and chances“, Potsdam, 1998, Schiffbauforschung, 38. Jahrgang (1999) Heft Nr. 1
[7] Kaul, S.; Heinke, H.-J.; Abdel-Maksoud, M.: Hydrodynamische Optimierung von Podded Drives und aktuelle Anwendungen in der Großausführung, 54. Sitzung des FA „Schiffshydrodynamik“ der STG, Hamburg, September 2000
[8] Heinke, H.-J.: Investigations about the forces and moments at podded drives, First International Conference on Technological Advances in Podded Propulsion, Newcastle, UK, April 2004
[9] Heinke, H.-J.: Hydrodynamische Untersuchungen für einen Podded Drive mit HTS-Synchronmaschine, Statustagung Schifffahrt und Meerestechnik, Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie, 03. Dezember 2009, Rostock-Warnemünde




The specification for a propeller design generally includes limits for the pressure fluctuations induced by the propeller. Moreover, acoustic limits are specified in special ships (naval and research vessels and yachts). Cavitation phenomena at propellers or appendages mainly lead to a significant increase in the amplitudes of the vibrations. Therefore pressure fluctuation, vibration and sound measurements are performed in conjunction with cavitation. In the cavitation tunnel, pressure sensors and hydrophones are placed in the stern area above the propeller or at positions of interest on the hull.

The pressure pulses induced by the propeller are measured with absolute pressure sensors. Typically, an array of sensors, 11 to 16, above the propeller is arranged.

If evidence of higher frequency levels at the hull is of interest, hydrophones are arranged in close range of the model propeller in the outer skin of the model. To determine the noise spectra induced by the propeller, hydrophones are placed on the windows or directly inside the test section of the cavitation tunnel.

For the analysis and comparison of acoustically optimised propellers, direct measurement of vibrations is carried out on the propeller. A high frequency acoustic emission sensor is installed with pre-amplifier and transmitter in a special hub cap. The sampling rate is 44100 Hz.

Technical Specifications
Brand Photron
Sensor Type CMOS
Max. Resolution 1024 x 1024 px, 2000 fps  
Max. Frame Rate 120.000 fps
Events that take place very rapidly must be observed with a camera with a very high frame rate. For this a high speed camera system from Photron in conjunction with Xenon headlights (cold light) with rates from 1 up to 2 kW is used. With this camera a maximum resolution of 1024 x 1024 pixels at an image capture rate of up to 2000 frames per second can be achieved. Depending on the problem, by lowering the resolution, it is possible to achieve an image capture rate of up to 120,000 fps. This is made possible by using a CMOS sensor.

An observation of cavitation on rotating propellers is consequently possible. The advantage compared to the conventional stroboscopic technique lies in the possibility of an evaluation of the cavitation dynamics on the basis of video recordings and thus also their influence on the erosion. The main place of use for the high speed camera system is the cavitation tunnel.


Context Related References / Research Projects

[1]    Heinke, H.-J.: High-Speed Camera Observations of the Cavitation at VSP Blades, 2th Symposium on Voith Schneider Technology , Heidenheim, 6. June 2008

Friction Measurement Test Stand

Please read more about our friction measurement test stand here.

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