Does the shape of a ships bow affect its speed in the water? Lets find out!
Liam Ferdinandez
Burnaby North Secondary
Floor Location : J 121 N

You may have noticed modern cargo ships have a piece of metal protruding from their bow. That is called a bulbous bow and its purpose is to help the ship go faster and improve the ships fuel efficiency on the high seas. The bulbous bow was discovered by the United States Navy in the 1890’s. They established that the new shape of the bow decreased the resistance the water had on the boat. The United States Navy started using the bulbous bow in 1912 and by the 1950’s, after some tweaks to the bulbous bow design, there was widespread usage of this invention in civil ships, not just on navy ships. So how does a bulbous bow work? Well, when waves hit the very front of the ship, they create a series of waves that go along the side of the boat. These waves increase the friction between the water and the ship as there is more water in contact with the ship. The bulbous bow creates a separate wave that is perpendicular with the first wave cancelling it out. This allows for less friction between the boat and the water because there is less water in contact with the boat. Well, what is the main goal of this project? The main goal of this project is to test my idea for a new design that should allow the ships to go faster. In my experiments I tested three bow designs: my more streamlined design, the current bulbous bow on the boat, and the bow without any modifications. In a water channel I recorded the time for a remote-controlled boat with each modification to travel a set distance. I also made observations about the height of the waves on the front and sides of the boat. I believe that my design will work the best as it not only makes a counteracting wave, but it also is better streamlined. My research is important as it could allow for a change in the boating industry that could decrease the fuel consumption and save time delivery goods from one country to the next. The current bulbous bow usually decreases a ships fuel consumption by about 12-15 percent. If my design improves on this, it will decrease the consumption even more. This decrease in the badly refined fuel that ships use can help the world take steps into slowing and eventually stopping climate change.