Mesh properties for rans simulations of airfoil-shaped profiles: A case study of rudder hydrodynamics

Suli Lu, Jialun Liu*, Robert Hekkenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


A good mesh is a prerequisite for achieving reliable results from Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) calculations. Mesh properties include mesh types, computational domain sizes, and node distributions. However, in literature, we found no clear consensus about what these properties should be. In this article, we performed a case study on ship rudders to determine what the suitable mesh properties are for airfoil-shaped profiles. A classic NACA 0012 profile is chosen as an example, and commercial packages ANSYS ICEM are applied for meshing with an ANSYS Fluent solver. With a strategy in consideration of relationships among different mesh properties, a comprehensive parametric investigation is conducted to study the impacts of these properties on the accuracy of rudder hydrodynamic coefficients obtained by CFD methods. The step-by-step study outputs recommended Reynolds numbers, domain sizes, and near-and far-field node distributions for mesh types with distinct topology structures, i.e., C-mesh, O-mesh, H-mesh, and Hybrid-mesh. Specifically, the study shows that a critical Reynolds number is needed for the perspective of efficiency, while a domain extending 60 times of the chord length enables the boundary effects to be negligible. As for node distributions, the near-field nodes should be treated carefully, compared with those in the far-field. After that, corresponding mesh properties for different calculation objectives are illustrated in detail based on the characteristics of mesh types mentioned above. With the proposed strategy for mesh refinements, impacts of different mesh properties on rudder hydrodynamics are clarified and recommended settings are applicable for other airfoil-shaped profiles such as wind turbines and marine propellers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1062
Number of pages41
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Mesh independence
  • Mesh properties
  • Rudder hydrodynamics


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