Maritime transport is the most efficient and environmental friendly mode of transport. The navigability of silted channels is done through the estimation of the nautical bottom. This criteria ensures that vessels can safely navigate through areas where thick layers of fluid mud can be found. Mud is however a very complex medium between solids and liquid and it is a challenging task to correctly predict the manoeuvring behaviour of vessels in close vicinity of a mud layer. For practical reasons, the nautical bottom is currently defined as a critical density. It is recognized that the relationship between density and the strength of the fluid mud is non-linear.
The results of NAUTIMUD will subsequently be used to improve a well-established computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code, ReFRESCO, to account for the dynamic properties of the fluid mud on the ships’ manoeuvrability in ports and waterways with fluid mud layers. The CFD code is validated with laboratory experiments. Together with new acoustic surveying method (also see SONIMUD), the outcome of NAUTIMUD will help to predict the nautical bottom leading to improved safety regulations and optimize maintenance strategies in ports.