The successful operation of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) requires the capability to return to a dock. A number of underwater docking technologies have been proposed and tested in the past. The docking allows the AUV to recharge its batteries, download data and upload new instructions, which is helpful to improve the working time and efficiency. During the underwater docking process, unsteady hydrodynamic interference occurs between the docking device and an AUV. To ensure a successful docking, it is very important that the underwater docking hydrodynamics of AUV is understood. In this paper, numerical simulations based on the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solutions were carried out for a 1.85m long AUV with maximum 0.2 m in diameter during the docking process. The two-dimensional AUV model without fin and rudder was used in the simulation. The mathematical model based on the Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations was established. The finite volume method (FVM) and the dynamic structured mesh technique were used. SIMPLE algorithm and the k-ε turbulence model in the Descartes coordinates were also adopted. The hydrodynamics characteristics of different docking states were analyzed, such as the different docking velocity, the docking device including baffle or not. The drag coefficients of AUV in the process of docking were computed for various docking conditions, i.e., the AUV moving into the docking in the speed of 1m/s, 2m/s, 5m/s. The results indicate that the drag coefficient increases slowly in the process of AUV getting close to the docking device. When the AUV moves into the docking device, the drag coefficient increases rapidly. Then the drag coefficient decreases rapidly. The drag coefficient decreases with the increase of velocity when AUV enters the docking device. It was also found that the drag coefficient can be effectively reduced by dislodging the baffle of docking device.

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