On the application of detached eddy simulation turbulence modelling to hydrocyclonic separators for shipboard ballast water treatment

  • Daniel Keppie McCluskey

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    There is significant worldwide environmental concern related to the transportation of Invasive Aquatic Species (IAS) by ships ballast water into non-native environments. This has given rise to the development of a vast array of technological ballast water treatment systems. The complex environmental challenges and tight operational characteristics of marine vessels limits the scope of the technologies used for Ballast Water Treatment (BWT). As a result few technologies have progressed beyond the research and development stage; however one of the most promising technologies for ship board use is the cyclonic separator, or hydrocyclone. Despite the use of hydrocyclones in a wide variety of engineering applications they have yet to be successfully adapted towards the removal of suspended sediment and marine organisms from large volumes of ballast water.

    The following primary objectives of this study have been met:
    • Via critical review identify the technological solutions for treating ballast water best suited to onboard use.
    • Define the critical flow regimes evident within hydrocyclonic separators.
    • Establish a series of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations, evaluating standard turbulence models in order to determine the capacity for commercial CFD to model hydrocyclonic flow.

    This study has detailed the operational characteristics of ballast water hydrocyclones with the aim of enabling hydrocyclones to be optimised for individual ship configurations. Flow simulations have been conducted using CFD, and in particular the Detached Eddy Simulation (DES) turbulence model. Finally the DES model is shown to be a legitimate turbulence model for hydrocyclonic flow regimes, validated against empirical and experimental data.
    Date of Award2009
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SponsorsInstitute for Marine Engineering, Science and Technology & EU FP6 Project SHIPMATES
    SupervisorArne Holdo (Supervisor)


    • marine engineering
    • aquatic ecosystems
    • Computational fluid dynamics
    • ships ballast water
    • ballast water treatment
    • hydrocyclones
    • eddy simulation
    • marine organisms

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