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Meng Zhang

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The goal of my research project is to evaluate the inland waterway (IWW) ship structural during winter condition and develop new mixed material concept for traditional commercial ships.

For ships operating in inland waters, winter conditions impose potential hazards and can induce additional operational costs which makes the ship non-profitable on long-term. Besides, the application of traditional steel on ships faces different problems from high cost, weight control, and corrosion and emission, which highly demands new material concept in the coming century.

The research work will be divided into two stages. First, to develop an appropriate ice-ship hull representative model. To determine the impact force between ice and vessel is of utmost importance and is essential. Due to lack of research and experience of ice influence in inland waterborne traffic, no field test data or semi-empirical approaches are applicable. And the existing studies are more related to sea ice issues that cannot be applied directly since the ice form and thickness in IWW vary in many ways. The EU EMMA project is undergoing within the scope of the research. By investigating the winter conditions for Lake Mälaren, a general ice pressure prediction approach for strength evaluation will be put forward and used for ships want to operate during light winter condition without the design of ice class rules. Moreover, the Swedish Maritime Administration is curious about the discrepancies between the IWW and sea ice condition. By solving the problem, it offers a great chance for the IWW ships to sort out the navigable time window per year thus may make the industry more profitable.

The second step aims to investigate hull materials and concepts for hull structure with focus on selection of materials and lightweight design. Together with the aimed ice loading scenarios, experimental and numerical study will be performed for IWW vessels. The most feasible approach will be by using mixed materials on the ship. The study will investigate on different materials and analyze the feasibility and economic efficiency on mixed material concepts. Therefore, a wonderful opportunity to contributing to the profitability and competitiveness of Swedish maritime industry can be obtained by providing a practical material combination approach for ships that gives both lighter weight and low emission and cost.

More information about the project can be found via: