Effect of rudder deflection on vessel dynamic heel

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Global demand for efficient sea transportation has led to the evolution of large vessels worldwide. To capitalise in this efficiency increase, these larger vessels must manoeuvre in ever more confined waterways. Operating in such confined waterways creates unsafe transit for channel shipping. Additionally, extreme drought condition has led to the low water level in rivers and consequently has interrupted transportation not only by larger vessels but also by the current vessels which could safely passed through the rivers in the past. To provide safe transits, all possible vertical motions and draught changes should be considered. One of the sources of the draught change is the dynamic heel due to rudder deflection. Operating in the rivers requires to remain in the provided safe course and vessels’ rudders are continuously in motion for course keeping purposes.

When a body moves in a circular path, there is a force towards the centre called centripetal force. In the case of a ship turning in a circle, the centripetal force is produced by the water acting on the side of the ship away from the centre of the turn. For equilibrium, there must be an equal and opposite force, which acts at the centre of mass (G). When a ship's rudder turns to port, the forces on the rudder itself causes a small angle of heel initially to port, however, the underwater form of the ship and centrifugal force on it cause a final static heel to starboard, and vice versa.

These two forces are coupled which tends to heel the ship away from the centre of the turn. Although a dynamic heel is developed during this coupling, the final static heel is usually taken into consideration. Neglecting dynamic heel is acceptable in waves due to the small ratio of this motion to the roll motion. However, in the case of calm water, particularly in rivers, canals and ports where there is restriction in terms of width and depth, the dynamic heel plays an important role.

This research project aims to investigate the effect of rudder deflection on the vessel’s dynamic heel by three different methods of experimental, numerical and analytically solving equations of motion.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Javad Mehr


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 $28,854 per annum (2022 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.


The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

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

Applicants must be from at least one of the following disciplinary backgrounds:

  • Naval architecture
  • Maritime engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

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:

  • The degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First-Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills
  • Applicants must be the first author of at least two published (or accepted) high-ranked journal papers

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
  • Hands-on experimental work specially towing tank and model test basin
  • Experience in Machine Learning
  • Computer programming skills
  • Experience in Data Acquisition & Signal Processing

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, Dr Javad Mehr 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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