Nowadays, FRP materials are commonly used for small vessels and specific parts of ships, being the superstructure a representative example. However, its application for hull structures is limited to vessels up to 500 GT (approx. 50 meters) according to SOLAS (IMO). One of the main drawbacks for overcoming this limit is the absence of structural design guidelines and specific studies analyzing the safety of these vessels in terms of structure and fire.
For this goal, three types of vessels have been considered for their designing according to their potential regarding future market opportunities. Furthermore, through these designs, structural design recommendation guidelines for the use of FRP materials in large length vessels will be obtained, driving a regulatory framework which will enable this technology in the marine sector.
The three categories are the following ones: Lightweight Commercial Vessels; Passenger Transportation & Leisure Vessels; and Special Services Vessels.
The challenge of designing FRP large length vessels will carry the necessity of developing new simulation tools to ease the structural design.
Regarding the critical aspects of FRP materials identified in the Materials, Components and Modelling thematic area, the improvements in the software tools will be driven to the structural performance of the structure, fatigue analysis and structural response under fire, among others. All the software tools and implementations will be extensively validated using standard benchmarks and experimental results generated by means of medium and large-scale experimental tests. As an essential upgrade in the software tool, it is highlighted the expected capability of performing hydro-elastic coupled simulations through the use of the software, thanks to a full-scale experimental campaign focused on structural health monitoring of a vessel.