Slam occurrences and loads of a high-speed wave piercer catamaran in irregular seas
French, BJ and Thomas, GA and Davis, MR, Slam occurrences and loads of a high-speed wave piercer catamaran in irregular seas, Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Proceedings. Part M: Journal of Engineering for the Maritime Environment, 229, (1) pp. 45-57. ISSN 2041-3084 (2015) [Refereed Article]
In order to optimise the structural design of large lightweight high-speed catamarans, a thorough understanding of the structural loads is required. Not only is slam severity an important factor in the structural design, but also the occurrence rates of such events in realistic sea conditions is vital for long-term load estimations. The slamming behaviour of a 2.5-m hydroelastic segmented model representative of an Incat wave piercer catamaran was investigated over a range of realistic irregular sea conditions. The model was instrumented with strain gauges to record centrebow slam loads, pressure transducers, wave probes and linear variable displacement transducers. More than 2000 slam events were identified over 22 test conditions, providing an extensive database of slam events. Slam events were identified from the pressure transducer measurements and two important slam parameters investigated: occurrence rates and slam severity. The slam magnitudes were found to be scattered; numerous outliers were detected with magnitudes up to 4 times the median observed in every tested condition. Slam occurrence rates and severity are generally greater in conditions where motions are large. A slam occurrence threshold was identified by extrapolating the experimentally measured occurrence rates. For a 112-m vessel with speeds between 20 and 38 knots and with a modal wave period of 8.5 s, slams are shown not to occur at significant wave heights less than 1.5 m. The slam loads and occurrence data obtained through scale model testing can be used by high-speed catamaran ferry designers to assist the development of structural load cases and operation limits for future designs.