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New fatigue model could lead to more durable ships

23 April 2013

A researcher at Aalto University in Finland, has developed a model that helps users to determine how fatigue sets in with various welded steel materials.

The model allows for the development of lighter structures, and as a consequence, more energy-efficient ships.
By utilising modern manufacturing technology and new materials, it is possible to achieve more efficient structures than those that currently exist. In addition, better physical models are needed to ensure structural strength, researcher Heikki Remes says.
At present the fatigue measurements used by classification societies are based on the average quality of the weld. The same design guideline is used both with traditional and more advanced structures.

However, through the development of manufacturing technology, it is possible to achieve characteristics for welded joints that are significantly better than average. With the models that have been developed, it is possible to consider the difference between traditional and advanced structural joints and the impact on fatigue resistance.
The study (now published in the International Journal of Fatigue) will be used to establish models for fatigue endurance of various developed welded steel structures. The goal is to predict fatigue endurance more accurately and to utilise material in the final product more efficiently.
The work is linked with a project of the Academy of Finland on fatigue in thin sandwich panel structures and with the BESST EU project to promote the competitiveness of the European shipbuilding industry.

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