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# GM & STABILITY

The following is a brief description of ship stability, and GM. There is also a brief description on how GM affects ship stabilisers.

In the diagram above the vertical height of the Centre of Gravity (G) above the Keel (K) is greater than the height of the Centre of Buoyancy (B) above the Keel.

A common misconception is that having the KG greater than the KB will immediately lead to a capsize. However, as the diagram above shows, the Centre of Buoyancy moves outboard more than the centre of gravity, and pushes the vessel back upright. Thus the vessel is restored safely to an upright condition. The righting lever GZ is the distance between the lines of action of Buoyancy and the vessels Centre of Gravity.

For small angles of heel, M is an imaginary point on the centreline through which the line of action of Buoyancy acts. GM is the distance between the vertical centre of gravity (G) and M (the Metacentre).

If we graph the magnitude of the righting lever GZ throughout the range of heel angles of the vessel from zero through to 180°, we get a graph as shown above.

There are some significant points worth noting

 The point of maximum GZ (45 degrees in this case) is often an indication of when the deck edge is starting to immerse. The angle of Vanishing Stability as about 105° here, and is the angle above which the vessel will settle to its new equilibrium condition of inverted.
 1 T h e P r o m e n a d e L i m e k i l n s , F i f e , K Y 1 1 3 H H , U K Voice / Fax , +44 (0)1383 873464 Email info@acemarine.co.uk WEB www.acemarine.co.uk Registered in Scotland SC197383 VAT No. 804 4172 57

GM continued

The GM (denoted GfMo here meaning fluid GM - more about that later) is a measure of the slope of the GZ curve as it passes through zero. It indicates the vessels upright stability characteristics - the steeper the initial part of the GZ curve - the higher the value of GM.

To calculate the position of M relative to G the slope of the GZ curve (measured at the point where heel = zero) is carried up until it intersects with a heel angle of 1 radian (57.3°). The GM is then expressed as a distance. Negative GM indicates that the initial slope of the GZ curve is downwards - in other words, the vessel wants to capsize. If the GM is only slightly negative, then the GZ curve may be found to become positive at some angle of loll, and the ship will heel to an alarming angle until the situation is corrected, or otherwise.

Note

the

GZ

curve

follows

the

GM line very

closely

for

the

first

10 degrees.

It

is a common

simplification to assume that the righting lever (GZ) is directly proportional to the GM for small

angles of heel (up to ±10°)

Solid and Fluid GM

GM(solid) is the calculation of GZ without allowance for the movement of the centre of gravity of the vessel as it is heeled, due to fluid movement within tanks.

If a tank is neither empty, nor pressed full, then there is a free surface effect which must be taken into account in the calculation of the vessel stability characteristics. The problem with a tank that is partially filled is that as the tank is heeled, the fluid moves to find a new equilibrium at the lower side, and hence the tanks centre of gravity moves. The effect is to move the overall centre of gravity up and to the side slightly, thereby reducing the horizontal distance between G and B (GZ). The initial slope of the GZ curve is therefore less, and the value of GM accordingly reduced. GM(fluid) is always less than GM(solid).

The influence of GM on Fin Stabilisers

In simple terms, fin stabilisers act to provide an opposite righting moment to that generated by the ships heeling moment as it responds to wave disturbances. As we have seen above, the heeling moment can be said to be directly proportional to the GM for small angles of heel. If the GM is large, then it consequently requires larger stabilisers to oppose the heeling moment. If the GM is low, then smaller stabilisers will suffice.

GM can also be likened to the strength of a spring in a damped spring mass system. The stronger the spring (larger GM), the quicker the natural period of oscillation of the system. Likewise with a ship, high values of GM cause the ship to roll fast, and consequently fin stabilisers have to be fast acting to keep up. It is important they do not lag appreciably in their response to the ships rolling. It is not by accident that liners of the past (prior to the introduction of statutory stability regulations) had very low values of GM in order that they did not respond in roll appreciably to wave disturbances. This ensured that their roll period was very long, that their passengers enjoyed a comfortable ride and were not sick, and therefore spent more money in the restaurants and bars.

 1 T h e P r o m e n a d e L i m e k i l n s , F i f e , K Y 1 1 3 H H , U K Voice / Fax , +44 (0)1383 873464 Email info@acemarine.co.uk WEB www.acemarine.co.uk

Registered in Scotland SC197383

VAT No. 804 4172 57