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Long-Term Fatigue Damage of Ship Structures Under Nonlinear Wave Loads

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Fatigue is a principal mode of failure in ship structures, especially when high tensile steels are applied. Although significant efforts hawve been made to predict fatigue damage, there are still uncertainties existing, e.g., in the stress histories that cause fatigue. This paper addresses estimation of fatigue damage in ships under wave loads, with an emphasis on containerships, which have large bow flare and low hull girder rigidity. Linear and nonlinear wave-induced loads as well as dynamic effects due to hull flexibility, i.e., whipping, are researched. With the direct analysis method of fatigue, the nature of the wave loading, hull rigidity, structural damping, stress range counting algorithm and SN curve on structural fatigue damage are investigated. In long-term fatigue damage estimates, the influence of different sea environments is numerically analyzed. The importance of nonlinearity of wave loads and especially the whipping on the structural fatigue damage is demonstrated by calculation for a large container vessel with large flare and lowest natural frequency of 0.749 Hz. Depending upon sea environments and SN curves used in long-term predictions, the fatigue damage based on nonlinear wave loads (excluding whipping) is 10-100% larger than that due to linear wave loads; the fatigue damage based on nonlinear combined loads (including whipping) may be 1-9 times larger than that of steady-state nonlinear wave loads.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2002

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