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Naval Architecture

Ships are still vital to the economy of many countries and they still carry some 95 per cent of world trade.
Although aircraft have displaced the transatlantic liner, ships still carry large numbers of people on
pleasure cruises and on the multiplicity of ferries in all areas of the globe. Ships, and other marine
structures, are needed to exploit the riches of the deep. Although one of the oldest forms of transport,
ships, their equipment and their function, are subject to constant evolution technology now provides the
ability to build much larger, faster, ships.
The naval architect is less tied to following a type ship. In the same way means of propulsion and steering
are tailored to suit the hull form and conditions of service, and they will be closely integrated one with the

Naval architecture is the science of making a ship ‘fit for

Naval Architect Importance
• Calculate areas and volumes of various shapes.
• Establish the drafts at which a ship will float and how its draught will change with different loadings.
• Study the stability of a vessel both intact and after damage.
• Determine the powering needed to achieve the desired speed in service on the routes the ship is to ply.
• Understand the environment in which a ship operates and its responses to that environment.
• Ensure the ship is adequately strong.
• Provide the ship with adequate means for maneuvering in confined waters or on the ocean.

The ship
This term must be interpreted broadly and can refer to any structure floating in water. It is usually self-
propelled but some, for instance, dumb barges and some offshore structures rely on tugs to move them.
Others rely on the wind. Marine structures, such as harbor installations, are the province of the civil
engineer. The purpose of a merchant ship is to carry goods, perhaps people, safely across water. That of a
warship is the support of government policy in the international field. Let us concentrate on the merchant
ship.A ship must be able to operate safely and reliably. There are many national and international rules
and regulations to be met. Briefly the ship must:
• Float upright with enough watertight volume above the waterline to cope with waves and accidental
• Have adequate stability to cope with operational upsetting moments and to withstand a specified degree
of flooding following damage. It must not be so stable that motions become unpleasant.
• Be able to maintain the desired speed in the sea conditions it is likely to meet.
• Be strong enough to withstand the loads it will experience in service.
• Be capable of moving in a controlled way in response to movements of control surfaces; to follow a
given course or maneuver in confined waters.
• Not respond too violently to waves

Ship’s Design
A modern ship is very expensive to build and is expected to operate efficiently over a long time span,
often in excess of 25 years. Thus time spent early on in looking at a wide range of options is time well
spent. It is, of course, for the prospective owner to say what is needed.
A set of well specified requirements will define the operational capabilities a ship should possess. Thus
capabilities might be the ability to maintain a speed of 20 knots in the average sea conditions it is likely to
meet on its usual service run, The Ship is designed to achieve the speed capability. For instance, what is
needed in the way of:
• total installed power
• type of main engine – steam, diesel, gas turbine
• how many shafts,
• type of propeller; fixed or controllable pitch• shaft revolutions.

Everything in the ship must serve a useful purpose. Thus:

• The machinery must provide enough power to achieve the desired speed.
• Hoisting gear of a certain capacity will be needed to load and offload the cargo. Here the facilities in the
ports the ship is to use must be taken into account.
• The hull, with its sub-division, must provide a safe vehicle for the intended service. For instance it may
need to be strengthened if the ship is to operate in ice.
• The electrical system must provide adequate power for all machinery to be run, allowing for the fact that
not all of the installed equipments will be needed at the same time. For instance, cargo handling gear may
only be needed in port
Each requirement will have an impact upon the ship design:
• The type of cargo may be able to be carried in bulk or may require packaging; it may be hazardous or it
may require a special on-board environment.
• The volume of cargo will be the major factor in determining the size of the ship. An additional factor
may be the need to move the cargo in discreet units of a specified size and weight.
Thus there are many different categories of ships, each with different design to be able to accommodate
the cargo safely, without jeopardizing the environment to pollution
Most common types of ships:

Ships that carry liquid cargo in bulk. the tanker is a floating group of tanks contained in a ship-shaped
hull, propelled by an isolated machinery plant at the stern. Each tank is substantially identical to the next
throughout the length of the ship.
A major user is the natural gas industry. For shipment, gas is cooled and converted to liquid at −162 °C
and is then pumped aboard a tanker for transit in aluminum tanks that are surrounded by heavy insulation
to prevent absorption of heat and to keep the liquid from evaporating during the voyage.
Container ships
Like tankers, container ships are characterized by the absence of cargo handling gear, in their case
reflecting the usual practice of locating the container-handling cranes at shore terminals rather than
aboard ship. Unlike the tanker, container ships require large hatches in the deck for stowing the cargo,
which consists of standardized containers usually either 20 or 40 feet in length. Below decks, the ship is
equipped with a cellular grid of compartments opening to the weather deck; these are designed to receive
the containers and hold them in place until unloading is achieved at the port of destination. The ship is
filled to the deck level with containers, the hatches are closed, and one or two layers of containers,
depending upon the size and stability of the ship, are loaded on the hatch covers on deck.
Barge-carrying ships
An extension of the container ship concept is the barge-carrying ship. In this concept, the container is
itself a floating vessel, usually about 60 feet long by about 30 feet wide, which is loaded aboard the ship
in one of two ways: either it is lifted over the stern by a high-capacity shipboard gantry crane, or the ship
is partially submerged so that the barges can be floated aboard via a gate in the stern.
Roll-on/roll-off ships
Roll-on/roll-off ships, designed for the carriage of wheeled cargo, are always distinguished by large doors
in the hull and often by external ramps that fold down to allow rolling between pier and ship. The general
outline of the ship, in view of its relatively low density of cargo, is rather “boxy,” with a high freeboard
and a high deckhouse covering much of the ship’s superstructure, to afford more parking decks. To
ensure stability, fixed ballast is usually included in these ships, along with water ballast to adjust load and
stability. The engineering plants are commonly twin engines of compact variety, such as geared diesel,
and they are arranged so that the engine spaces are at either side of the ship, allowing valuable free space
between them for vehicle passage.
Dry-bulk ships
Designed for the carriage of ore, coal, grain, and the like, dry-bulk ships bear a superficial likeness to
container ships since they often have no cargo handling gear and, unlike the tanker, have large cargo
hatches. The absence of containers on deck is a decisive indicator that a vessel is a dry-bulk ship, but an
observer may be deceived by the occasional sight of a dry-bulk ship carrying containers and other non-
bulk cargo on deck.
Ship Definitions:

The length overall (loa) is the distance between the extreme points forward and aft measured parallel to
the summer (or design) waterline. Forward the point may be on the raked stem or on a bulbous bow.
The length on the waterline (lwl) is the length on the waterline, at which the ship happens to be floating,
between the intersections of the bow and after end with the waterline. If not otherwise stated the summer
load (or design) waterline is to be understood.
The mid-point between the perpendiculars is called amidships or midships. The section of the ship at this
point by a plane normal to both the summer waterplane and the centreline plane of the ship is called
the midship section.

Molded beam, which is the greatest distance between the inside of plating on the two sides of the ship at
the greatest width at the section chosen.
The breadth extreme is measured to the outside of plating but will also take account of any overhangs or
The ship depth varies along the length but is usually quoted for amidships. As with breadth it is common
to quote a molded depth, which is from the underside of the deck plating at the ship’s side to the top of
the inner keel plate.
Sheer is a measure of how much a deck rises towards the stem and stern. It is defined as the height of the
deck at side above the deck at side amidships.
Camber or round of beam is defined as the rise of the deck in going from the side to the center .
The draught of the ship at any point along its length is the distance from the keel to the waterline. If a
molded draught is quoted it is measured from the inside of the keel plating.
Trim is said to be by the bow or by the stern depending upon whether the draught is greater forward or
Freeboard is the difference between the depth at side and the draught.

Representing the hull form:

The hull form is portrayed graphically by the lines plan or sheer plan. This shows the various curves of
intersection between the hull and the three sets of orthogonal planes. Because the ship is symmetrical, by
convention only one half is shown. The curves showing the intersections of the vertical fore and aft
planes are grouped in the sheer profile; the waterlines are grouped in the half breadth plan; and the
sections by transverse planes in the body plan. In merchant ships the transverse sections are numbered
from aft to forward. The distances of the various intersection points from the middle line plane
are called offsets.
Hull characteristics

As a floating body, a ship in equilibrium will displace its own weight of water. This is explained in more
detail later. Thus the volume of the hull below the design load waterline must represent a weight of water
equal to the weight of the ship at its designed load. This displacement, as it is called, can be defined as:

It should be noted that displacement is a force and will be measured in

newtons. For flotation, stability, and hydrodynamic performance generally, it is this displacement,
expressed either as a volume or a force that is of interest.
A body floating freely in still water experiences a downward force acting on it due to gravity. If the body
has a mass m, this force will be mg and is known as the weight. Since the body is in equilibrium there
must be a force of the same magnitude and in the same line of action as the weight but opposing it.
Otherwise the body would move. This opposing force is generated by the hydrostatic pressures which act
on the body.
The gravitational force mg can be imagined as concentrated at a point G which is the
center of mass, commonly known as the center of gravity. Similarly the opposing force can be imagined
to be concentrated at a point B.

This is also the weight of the displaced water. It is this vertical force which ‘buoys up’ the body and it is
known as the buoyancy force or simply buoyancy. The point, B, through which it acts is the centroid of
volume of the displaced water and is known as the centre of buoyancy. Since the buoyancy force is equal
to the weight of the body, m In other words the mass of the body is equal to the mass of the water
displaced by the body.

Simpson’s rules
Many naval architectural calculations are carried out using what are known as Simpson’s rules , Which is
used to calculate the ship’s Area . In Simpson’s rules the ship’s curves are represented by a mathematical
equation of the form:


The concept of the stability of a floating body can be explained by considering it to be inclined from the
upright by an external force which is then removed. In Figure a ship floats originally at waterline W0L0
and after rotating through a small angle at waterline W1L1.
The inclination does not affect the position of G, the ship’s center of gravity, provided no weights are free
to move. The inclination does, however, affect the underwater shape and the center of buoyancy moves
from B0 to B1. This is because a volume, v, represented
by W0OW1, has come out of the water and an equal
volume, represented by L0OL1, has
been immersed.
here is the total volume of the ship.
In general a ship will trim slightly when it is inclined at
constant displacement. The buoyancy acts upwards
through B1 and intersects the original
vertical at M. This point is termed the metacentre and for
small inclinations can be taken as fixed in position. The
weight W mg acting downwards and the buoyancy force, of equal magnitude, acting upwards are not in
the same line but form a couple W GZ, where GZ is the perpendicular on to B1M drawn from G. As
shown this couple will restore the body to its original position and in this condition the body is said to be
in stable equilibrium. GZ GM sin Alpha and is called the righting lever or lever and GM is called the
metacentric height. For a given position of G, as M can be taken as fixed for small inclinations, GM will
be constant for any particular waterline. More importantly, since G can vary with the loading of the ship
even for a given displacement, BM will be constant for a given waterline. M is above G, giving positive
stability, and GM is regarded as positive in this case. If, when inclined, the new position of the center of
buoyancy, B1, is directly under G, the three points M, G and Z are coincident and there is no moment
acting on the ship. When the disturbing force is removed the ship will remain in the inclined position. The
ship is said to be in neutral equilibrium and both GM and GZ are zero.
A third possibility is that, after inclination, the new center of buoyancy will lie to the left of G. There is
then a moment W GZ which will take the ship further from the vertical. In this case the ship is said to be
unstable and it may heel to a considerable angle or even capsize. For unstable equilibrium M is below G
and both GM and GZ are considered negative. The above considerations apply to what is called the initial
stability of the ship.


As the position of the center of gravity is so important for initial stability it is necessary to establish it
accurately. It is determined initially by calculation by considering all weights making up the ship – steel,
outfit, fittings, machinery and systems – and assessing their individual centers of gravity. From these data
can be calculated the displacement and center of gravity of the light ship. For particular conditions of
loading the weights of all items to be carried must then be added at their appropriate centers of gravity to
give the new displacement and center of gravity. It is difficult to account for all items accurately in such
calculations and it is for this reason that the lightship weight and center of gravity are measured
experimentally. The experiment is called the inclining experiment and involves causing the ship to heel to
small angles by moving known weights known distances transversely across the deck and observing the
angles of inclination. The draughts at which the ship floats are noted together with the water density.
Ideally the experiment is conducted when the ship is complete but this is not generally possible. There
will usually be a number of items both to go on and to come off the ship (e.g. staging, tools etc.). The
weights and centers of gravity of these must be assessed and the condition of the ship as inclined
There is resistance to the passage of a ship through the water. The resistance of the naked hull measured
in model tests can be considered as comprising two components, the frictional and the residuary
resistance. These components scale differently in moving from the model to full-scale. The residuary
resistance, for geometrically similar hulls at corresponding speeds, scales as the ratio of the
displacements. The frictional resistance component is estimated from experimental data and scaled in
relation to Reynolds’ number. The naked hull resistance must take account of surface roughness and be
increased to allow for appendages. Where necessary an allowance can be made for the resistance of the
above water form due to its passage through the air although in the absence of a natural wind this is likely
to be small. Fitting a propeller modifies the flow around the hull causing an augment in resistance the hull
experiences and modifying the wake in which the propeller must generate its thrust. The flow through the
propeller is not uniform so the efficiency will vary from that found in open water tests. Taking all these
factors into account the power to be delivered by the propeller for a given ship speed can be calculated.
The power required of the main propulsion machinery follows after making allowance for transmission

Ship’s Stability Importance

In the event of collision, grounding or just springing a leak, water can enter the ship. If unrestricted, this
flooding would eventually cause the ship to founder, that is sink bodily, or capsize, that is turn over. To
reduce the probability of this, the hull is divided into a series of watertight compartments by means of
bulkheads. In action, warships are expected to take punishment from the enemy so damage stability is
clearly an important consideration in their design. However, damage is a possibility for any ship.
Bulkheads cannot ensure complete safety in the event of damage. If the hull is opened up over a sufficient
length several compartment scan be flooded. This was the case in the tragedy of the Titanic. Any flooding
can cause a reduction in stability and if this reduction becomes great enough the ship will capsize. Even if
the reduction doesn’t cause capsize it may lead to an angle of heel at which it is difficult, or impossible, to
launch lifeboats.