Accurate prediction of the hydrodynamic forces and moments acting on a manoeuvring marine vehicle using Reynolds averaged Navier–Stokes simulations requires sufficient mesh resolution to capture off-body vortical structures. Because the path of these structures is not known a priori, a vortex identification and capture strategy is required alongside an iterative mesh adaption process. An improved version of the VORTFIND algorithm, which can identify multiple vortices of variable strength and rotational direction using a K-means algorithm is described. The algorithm is applied to velocity fields generated from Reynolds averaged Navier–Stokes simulations to increase the mesh resolution in the vortex core region, ensuring sufficient mesh density to capture the downstream propagation of the vortex for a submarine hull at drift and ship propeller–rudder interaction.Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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