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Investigation of Ultimate Limit State Safety Margins in the Structural Design Rules

[+] Author Affiliations
Kristoffer Lofthaug, Lars Brubak, Åge Bøe, Eivind Steen

DNV GL Maritime, Høvik, Norway

Paper No. OMAE2017-62309, pp. V03BT02A049; 10 pages
  • ASME 2017 36th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 3B: Structures, Safety and Reliability
  • Trondheim, Norway, June 25–30, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5766-3
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


A study to document the Ultimate Limit State (ULS) safety margins built into the DNV GL rules for Bulk and Tanker is presented. Critical structural members were identified together with the load level at which these members start to develop permanent buckling sets exceeding normal fabrication tolerances. These critical load levels are then compared with the local ULS rule strength limits in order to have a measure for the structural safety margins and hull redundancy.

Non-linear finite element (NFLE) analyses were performed to estimate the structural response for different focus areas (critical structural members). Typically, critical members in bottom, deck, transverse bulkhead and hopper were chosen. Cargo hold models were developed both with linear finite elements, [1,2] and non-linear finite elements, [3]. In the non-linear FE analysis, the structural safety factor for ULS was defined as the load level giving permanent plastic deformation equal to the permissible distortion (production tolerances) for structural members. The non-linear FE results were compared with the maximum permissible load level with respect to buckling and yielding according to DNV GL Ship rules [1] inclusive Common Structural Rules for BC&OT (CSR) [4].

The structural safety factor shows a typical value of 1.2–1.4, and for most cases the plate is governing dimensioning structural member. This study has identified significant structural safety margins, typically 20–40% above rule acceptance level for typical highly utilized local areas in Bulk and Tanker hulls.

It is to be noted that global Hull Girder Capacity is not addressed in present paper.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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