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International Conference on Fast Sea TransportationFAST 2011, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, September 2011
Modes of Vibration of High Speed Ship Hull Sections
Michael R. Davis
, Gary Davidson
, Timothy Roberts
and Christopher Cato
University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia 7001
Revolution Design, Moonah, Australia 7009.
Impact testing of a typical high speed ship section hasshown that the mode of vibration most likely to fall in thefrequency range of excitation due to propeller or rotor blade passing is that where the ship frame rocks in a fore and aftdirection about its base connection to the hull plate. Thisvibration has significant amplitude to either side of the keeland it is found that connection between the inboard andoutboard sides is weak. As a consequence vibration canoccur in two modes in which the opposite sides of the hulleither move together or in anti phase. This leads to thestructural strain energy in the two modes being slightlydifferent, the mode with opposite motion to either sideinvolving rather smaller strain energy. As a consequence thetwo modes have slightly different frequency, the mode withopposite motion to either side having rather less strainenergy and thus a lower frequency. Because the frequenciesof the two modes are thus close together the transientresponse exhibits beating in which vibration energy isexchanged between the two sides of the hull at the low beatfrequency. Vibration of the ship frames in this manner appears to have been the cause of minor weld crackingwhere the top of stiffeners pass through cut outs in the webof the ship frames within the fuel tank areas of the hull.
Vibration modes, high speed ship hulls, lightweight hullsections
Propeller and water jet propulsion systems commonly causesignificant vibration problems in the stern region of highspeed lightweight ship structures if a propeller is locatedclose to the hull or if the intake of a water jet has a rampangle which is too steep. In both cases interaction of a non-uniform flow with the rotor can be a powerful source of vibration excitation. In addition, the installation of high power diesel engines in a lightweight aluminium structurecan also lead to significant levels of structural vibrationexcitation. Typical machinery speeds are in the range from500 to 1000 revolutions per minute (8 to 17 Hzapproximately) whilst rotors with up to 5 blades can extendthe frequency of excitation to about 80 Hz. It is therefore of interest to identify the modes of typical ship structureswhich are likely to have frequencies which lie in the rangeof typical blade passing frequencies and the lower order harmonics of those frequencies. Therefore structural modesin the frequency range up to about 160 Hz are of interest.
Propeller and water jet rotor blades give rise to unsteadyloading on the structure for several reasons. Firstly, the blades may be operating in a non uniform flow field whichoriginates due to the hull boundary layer, due to the velocityfield around the aft end of the hull or in the water jet intake. Non uniform flow in a water jet intake is essentially caused by the fact that the flow speed entering the rotor issignificantly less than the forward speed of the vessel. Thecritical parameter is the inlet velocity ratio, this being theratio of the vessel speed to the average speed in the intake.Typical values may range from zero when the vessel isdocking to about 1.7 when cruising. Intake design thusnecessarily compromises between accommodating theseextremes of operation. Ideally design for the cruisecondition would result in the intake duct having a diffusingcross section with the duct area increasing from the inlet tothe rotor. However, whilst such a design is often adopted insmall power boat designs, dockside maneuvering isseriously compromised by the restricted inlet area. Mostoften the intake ducts for large ferries are therefore designedwithout significant area diffusion within the duct so that ahigher rotor speed can be sustained whilst maneuveringwithout cavitation occurring at the aft lip of the intake.Velocity profiles in a model two dimensional intakeobtained by wind tunnel testing (Davidson et al, 2011) for extremes of inlet velocity ratio (IVR) show that for anIVR=0 there is a severe flow separation at the intake lipresulting in the velocity distribution in the intake having amaximum towards the upper side of the duct. For IVR=2.1the flow separates on the upper surface of the intake and thevelocity maximum is on the lower side of the duct. Whilstthese flow non-uniformities are somewhat reduced as theflow remixes ahead of the rotor face, nevertheless the rotor will experience non uniform flow and blade loading.Observations of cavitation on the rotor blades of an INCAT74m vessel using stroboscopic illumination showed thecavitation region and thus the blade loading to be thesmallest at the upper part of the rotor disc and thatindividual blades experience unsteady loads as they progressin rotation around the rotor disc plane. Calculation of theseunsteady loads is difficult as complex interactions are present between the non-uniform inlet flow and the rotating blades. However on the basis of the variability of axial flowvelocity across the rotor disc between upper and lower sections of the rotor an estimate of the variation of bladeincidence angle can be made and from that the variation of 
524© 2011 American Society of Naval Engineers
 blade force can be calculated. For typical rotors and flownon uniformity the variation of blade loading could be asmuch as +/- 4 tonnes on each blade or +/-50% of theaverage blade load. The magnitude of these variations canof course be reduced if the intake flow non-uniformity isreduced, but it is clear that there is considerable potential for substantial unsteady loads to be transmitted onto the rotor shaft and thence into the ship structure. In general theseeffects become more severe as the intake ramp angle isincreased and angles significantly in excess of about 20degrees can result in significant vibration excitation. Wherethe propulsion system is an open propeller, similar problemsarise owing to separation of the flow boundary layer on thehull surface in the region where the keel rises toaccommodate the propeller. The effects can be more severeif the propeller is close to the hull surface so that theunsteady pressure on the hull is larger and where the propeller is likely to experience greater flow non-uniformity. Also, significant unsteady loading can arisewhere two propellers operate in close proximity. In generalthe unsteady loadings which originate in the propulsionsystem are difficult to predict and progress on the basis of full scale vessel trials would be the most reliable approachto adopt. For water jets the ramp angle is a critical parameter and for propellers the proximity to the hull iscritical.
Fig. 1.
View of hull section under test showing frames,stiffeners, hull plate and keel.
Fig. 2.
Location of accelerometers on top of frame, on hull plate and on top of stiffener 
The modes of a typical hull section of an INCAT Tasmania112m vessel were investigated using experimental impactresponse testing. A general view of the hull section is shownin Figure 1: the section was selected mid-way between bulkheads at a location 38% ahead of the transom of anINCAT 112m hull. This section was chosen because it wasrelatively simple, comprising only the hull plate, frames,keel and stiffeners. It should be noted that the section haswell rounded bilges and that somewhat different resultswould be obtained if a flat bottomed section were chosen.Also, the aft end of the hull would contain significantadditional framing and stiffening associated with engine,water jet and ride control mountings. Figure 2 shows theinstallation of piezoelectric accelerometers by magneticclamps onto small steel plates bonded to the frame, stiffener and plate. Details of the section are given in Table 1.Thickness Height FlangeWidthPitchHull plate 16mmStiffener T bar 6mm 140mm 55mm 345mmFrame Tsection10mm 550mm 200mm 1200mmKeel Tsection20mm 450mm 200mm
Table 1.
Dimensions of aluminium components at testlocationExcitation was applied using a rubber hand held hammer with impacts in directions perpendicular to and parallel tothe hull external plating on a ship frame and also directly onthe hull plating and stiffener as shown in Figure 3. Testswere carried out with the hull both afloat and in dry dock.
Impact pointAccelerometer 
FrameflangeFramewebHull plateT-bar Stiffener 
Fig. 3.
Details of impact and measurement points on frame,stiffener and hull plate. Impact and accelerometer locationson plate and stiffener are mid-way between frames. Testlocations are 1.2m from hull centre lineWith the vessel in dry dock and impact on the stiffener topin a direction perpendicular to the hull plate the response of the accelerometer on top of the stiffener is shown in figure4 and the corresponding power spectrum is shown in Figure
© 2011 American Society of Naval Engineers525
5. We see that there is a dominant component at 349.6 Hzwith several other components in the range down to 180 Hz.When the impact point is moved to the hull plate (Figures 6and 7) the response is generally similar but the strongest peak component is now at 264 Hz.
-0.4- 7.95 8
Time (seconds)
 Fig. 4.
Response of accelerometer located on stiffener (position B) following impact on stiffener (position 4) indry dock (Ordinate scale: volts, sensitivity =0.134 volts/g)
Fig. 5.
Power spectrum of response of accelerometer locatedon stiffener (position B) following impact on stiffener (position 4) in dry dock (peak at 349.6Hz, ordinate: volt
-0.3-0.2- (seconds)
 Fig. 6.
Response of accelerometer located on stiffener (position B) following impact on hull plate (position 5) indry dock (Ordinate scale: volts, sensitivity =0.134 volts/g)
Fig. 7.
Power spectrum of response of accelerometer locatedon stiffener (position B) following impact on hull plate(position 5) in dry dock (peaks at 264 and 343Hz, ordinate:volt
Fig. 8.
Vibration of hull plate between ship frames
0250500750100012501500175000.511.522.53HzPlate span (m)No stiffenersWith stiffenersSquare plate, no stiffeners
Fig. 9.
First mode frequency of square and wide 16mmaluminium plates clamped along edges separated by the plate span. T-Bar stiffeners when fitted across the span are6mm thick, 140mm deep with a 55mm wide top flange andare spaced at 340mm
526© 2011 American Society of Naval Engineers

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