Effective use of composite marine structures: reducing weight and acquisition cost
Book chapter, 2018
Composite structures are a way to reduce the operational costs of a vessel or to increase its potential revenue. However, depending on the design of the vessel, its operational profile, and the business model of the owner, the benefits brought by a composite structure may not justify its acquisition cost. This paper presents a number of investigations aimed at reducing the acquisition cost of marine composite structures and maximizing their benefits through a more effective use of composite materials (in other words, weight reduction of the composite structure). The investigations cover three areas of opportunity for doing so: material safety factors, material characterization, and numerical optimization of large composite structures. The following conclusions are drawn from the investigations: motivating a reduction of material safety factors through probabilistic analyses is unpractical at best, and questionable at worst; improving the material characterization of textile composites is easy, relatively costless, and can modestly reduce structural weight through better material property values; numerical optimization of large composite structures is cumbersome, but feasible, and holds the greatest potential increasing the economical attractiveness of composite marine structures.