Increase in Stability of an X-Configured AUV through Hydrodynamic Design Iterations with the Definition of a New Stability Index to Include Effect of Gravity
A study about the effect of different configurations of stationary and movable appendages on the dynamic stability of an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is presented. A new stability index that can be used to assess dynamic stability in the vertical plane is derived. It improves upon the vertical plane stability index by accurately accounting for the contribution of hydrostatic forces to dynamic stability, even at low speeds. The use of the new stability index is illustrated by applying it to a set of AUV configurations based on an AUV initially designed at Virginia Tech and built by Dive Technologies. The applicability of this index depends on the speed of the craft. The range of applicability in terms of speed is presented for the DIVE craft as an example. The baseline design of the DIVE craft has asymmetry in the vertical plane and symmetry in the horizontal plane. A virtual planar motion mechanism (VPMM) is used to obtain the hydrodynamic coefficients of the hull. Design iterations are performed on the baseline design by varying the appendages in shape and size, adding appendages and adding features on appendages. The best and the baseline design from this effort are incorporated in a 6 DOF lumped-parameter model (LPM) to compare results of a straight line maneuver. A computational fluid dynamic (CFD) tool is used to obtain the trajectory comparison of turn-circle maneuver for these two designs. A principal conclusion is the important contribution of a hydrostatic restoring force at low-moderate speeds by using GVgrav and the influence of design of control surfaces, both stationary and non-stationary, in the achievement of control-fixed course stability.