Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


This course discusses the selection and evaluation of commercial and naval ship power and propulsion systems. It will cover the analysis of propulsors, prime mover thermodynamic cycles, propeller-engine matching, propeller selection, waterjet analysis, and reviews alternative propulsors. The course also investigates thermodynamic analyses of Rankine, Brayton, Diesel, and Combined cycles, reduction gears and integrated electric drive. Battery operated vehicles and fuel cells are also discussed. The term project requires analysis of alternatives in propulsion plant design for given physical, performance, and economic constraints. Graduate students complete different assignments and exams.


  1. Understand principles of propulsors. Demonstrate ability to specify preliminary design parameters for a given vessel propulsor.
  2. Understand principles of thermodynamics with emphasis on power cycles. Demonstrate ability to specify preliminary design parameters for a given vessel propulsion system.
  3. Understand systems trade offs in developing preliminary power system design for a vessel.


Woud, Hans Klein, and Douwe Stapersma. Design of Propulsion and Electric Power Generation Systems. London, UK: IMarEST, (Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology), 2002. ISBN: 9781902536477.

Other References

Amazon logo Lewis, Edward V. "Resistance and Propulsion." Principles of Naval Architecture. Vol. II. Jersey City, NJ: Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, 1988. ISBN: 9780939773008.

Amazon logo Van Wylen, Gordon J., and Richard E. Sonntag. Fundamentals of Classical Thermodynamics. New York, NY: Wiley, 1973. ISBN: 9780471041887.

Topics Covered

  1. Propulsion
    • Propellers
    • Waterjets
    • Other propulsors
  2. Power Plants
    • Thermodynamics
    • Reversible cycles, availability
    • Rankine cycle
    • Combustion
    • Brayton cycle, gas turbine
    • Combined cycles
    • Diesel cycle
  3. Reliability
  4. Transmissions
    • Reduction gears
    • Electric drive
  5. Propulsion dynamics
  6. Propulsion of small underwater vehicles

Professional Component Contributions

Students learn general problem solving skills, and design, appropriate to ocean vehicles. They gain systems analysis experience working in teams in completing the propulsor design and propulsion system selection design projects. Students further their communication skills in preparing final report on the design project.

Relationship to Program Learning Outcome

  • Demonstrated knowledge of and ability to apply fundamental principles of mechanical engineering.
  • Demonstrated ability to apply mathematics and science to an engineering problem.
  • Demonstrated ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.
  • Demonstrated ability to function as part of a team.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively in written reports.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively through public speaking.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate using visual media.
  • Students will be aware of the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.
  • Students will recognize the need for and the ability to engage in life long learning.
  • Students will have an understanding of ethical and professional responsibility.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and ability to apply fundamental principles of ocean engineering.

Grading Policy

Quiz 1 25%
Quiz 2 25%
Design project 40%
Homework 10%



1 Resistance and propulsion (propulsors)  

Actuator disk

Propeller testing - B series


Design using Kt (Kq) curves

Detail design



Waterjet notes

5 First law  

Second law


Assignment 1 due
7 Propeller lifting line theory (Dr. Rich Kimball)  
8 Propeller lifting line theory (Dr. Rich Kimball) (cont.)  
9 Propeller lifting line theory (Dr. Rich Kimball) (cont.) Assignment 2 due

Water properties (Prof. Doug Carmichael)

Rankine cycle (Prof. Doug Carmichael)

Assignment 3 due one day before Lec #10

Rankine cycle vs. pressure and temperature (Prof. Doug Carmichael)

Practical Rankine cycle (Prof. Doug Carmichael)

Rankine cycle with regeneration

Rankine cycle vs. pressure with reheat

12 Combustion  
  Quiz 1  
13 Relationships for gases  
14 Basic dual cycle diesel notes  
15 Diesel analysis (cont.)  
16 Diesel (cont.) or catch-up Assignment 4 due

Polytropic efficiency

Brayton cycle summary 2005


Brayton cycle - irreversible examples

Open Brayton cycle


19 Electrical theory overview Assignment 5 due
20 Motors and generators overview  
21 Electric propulsion presentation, guest lecturer Prof. Harbour  

Reliability and availability

Repairable systems supplement

23 Reduction gears notes  

Gear geometry

Helical gear geometry

Assignment 6 due
25 Gear geometry  

Review, catch-up

Air independent propulsion