Cavitation in marine propulsors

Cavitation nucleation and inception in marine propulsors

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

In this research project the unique capabilities of the Cavitation Research Laboratory (CRL) at the Australian Maritime College (a specialist institute of the University of Tasmania) will be used to gain new insights into the effects of nucleation on cavitation inception and dynamics in tip leakage flows (TLFs) of marine propulsors.

Due to the complexity of the flow through the gap and high blade tip velocity, TLF is typically the flow feature exhibiting the global pressure minimum. A particular aspect of TLFs is the interaction between various vortical structures, which can lead to large unsteady pressure fluctuations and consequent early onset of cavitation.

Cavitation inception and dynamics have been shown to be complex and significantly affected by microbubble populations in canonical flows modelling sheet, cloud and vortex cavitation. Recent work performed at the CRL contributed to understanding of the effect of microbubbles on cavitation in TLFs for a single stationary hydrofoil model. However, the level of understanding of the influence of microbubble populations on cavitation thresholds and nucleation physics for the flow associated with a multi-bladed rotating propulsor is limited.

Within the scope of the proposed project, inherently rotating phenomena will be investigated using a multi-bladed rotating model enclosed in a casing of circular cross-section. This configuration will be tested for a range of conditions, most importantly including several nuclei populations. These tests will provide new insights in the physics of cavitation nucleation and inception in TLFs, as well as archival experimental datasets useful for design considerations and in the development of computational models for predicting this phenomenon.

The project outcomes include new knowledge on the role of nuclei on cavitation inception in propulsor TLF and scaling effects, development of novel experimental techniques and data analysis methods and a comprehensive experimental database for CFD validation.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Paul Brandner


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Bachelor’s degree (Honours) in relevant discipline (Engineering, Science, etc.) or equivalent

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Master’s degree in relevant discipline (Engineering, Science, etc.) or equivalent
  • Strong background in the field of fluid mechanics with an emphasis on propulsors and rotating machinery
  • Experience in experimental fluid mechanics
  • Experience in computational fluid dynamics
  • Record of peer reviewed publications in scientific journals and/or conferences

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Prof Paul Brandner to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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