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Welding and Cutting Processes used in Shipbuilding

Welding process
During WWI riveting was the predominant method for joining ships. This process remains
until WWII in which welding was well developed and used for shipbuilding. The employment
of welding brought advantages such as fast production of joints and adoption of
prefabrication techniques.
The welding process employed in shipbuilding is the fusion welding type, which consist of a
heat source intense enough to melt the edges of materials to be joined.
Gas flames used in gas welding was the first form of heat used for fusion welding. Acetylene
is the most common type of gas and also oxy-acetylene, both supplied in cylinders and each
of them with a regulator for controlling gas pressure. By varying the ratio of oxygen to
acetylene in the gas mixture supplied, it is possible to vary the efficiency. Oxy-acetylene
tends to be slower than other fusion welding processes because temperature is low. In the
Automatic Welding with Coated Wires has been used and marketed in large extent in UK
shipyards. Fusarc machines traverse the plate at a set speed and the flux covered wire is fed
continuously to give correct arc length and deposition of weld metal. In the case of
Submerged Arc Welding, the arc is maintained within a blanket or granulated flux. A
consumable filler wire is employed and the arc is maintained between this wire and the
parent plat. This method is the one that is most commonly used for downhand mechanical
welding in the shipbuilding industry. Stud Welding is sometimes classified as a shielded arc
process, the arc being drawn between the stud and the plate to which the stud is to be
attached. This method is often used in shipbuilding generally for the fastening of stud bolts
to secure wood sheathing to decks, insulation to bulkheads and so on.
Gas Shielded Arc Welding Process was adopted for the welding of lighter steel structures
in shipyards as well for welding aluminum alloys in the 1960s. This processes are mainly of
an automatic or semi-automatic nature. The TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) consist of arcs that
are drawn between a water-cooled non-consumable tungsten electrode and the plate. In
the case of Metal Inert Gas (MIG), this method is considered as an extension of the TIG
welding, the electrode in this process becoming a consumable metal wire. This wire feed
motor supplying wire via rollers trough a contact tube in the torch of the arc. Initially
aluminum accounted for most of the MIG welding with argon being used as the inert
shielding gas. CO2 gas was alternative for the expensive argon.
Some other processes cannot be classified as gas or arc welding processes are considered
separately such as the Electro Slag Welding which may be used for the automatic vertical
welding of thicker steel plate. It is claimed that the welding of plates of thickness down to
13 mm can be economical but its usual to weld somewhat heavier plates. Friction Stir
Welding is a new materials joining process which has been used in the shipbuilding industry
and is likely to be more widely used. It consist of a solid state process that offers advantages
over fusion welding for certain applications. In producing butt joints it uses a non-
consumable rotating tool. This process is currently used for welding aluminum alloy plates
and such plates to aluminum alloy castings.

Cutting process
Gas cutting technique is mostly used in shipyards to cut steel plates and sections, but the
introduction of competitive plasma-arc cutting machines has led to their widespread use in
Gas Cutting is achieved by a chemical/Thermal reaction that occurs with iron alloys only.
Iron may be heated to a temperature at which the iron will rapidly oxidize in an atmosphere
of high purity oxygen. In Plasma Arc Cutting the plasma is a mass of ionized gas which will
conduct electricity. In this, an electrode is connected to the negative terminal of a DC supply
and a gas shield is supplied for the arc from a nozzle which has a bore less than the natural
diameter of the arc. As a result a constricted arc is obtained which has a temperature
considerably higher than that of an open arc.
Gouging, both gas and arc welding processes may be modified to produce of gouging out
shallow depressions in plates to form edge preparations for welding purpose where
precision is not important. Gouging is particularly useful in shipbuilding for cleaning out the
backs of welds to expose clean metal prior to depositing a weld black run. In the case of
Laser Cutting, profile cutting and planning at high speeds can be obtained with a
concentrated laser beam and the introduction to shipbuilding of this technique has been
evaluated, in particular for a robot cutting head. In a laser beam the lights is one of the
wavelength, travels in the same direction and is coherent. Such a beam can be focused to
give high energy densities. For welding and cutting the beam is generated in a CO2 laser.
Water Jet Cutting, This cutting process may be used where thermal cutting is not possible
and mechanical cutting requires extensive and expensive subsequent working. The cutting
tool employed in this process is a concentrated water jet with or without abrasive which is
released from a nozzle 2 times the speed of sound and at a pressure of several thousand
Stresses to which a Ship is Subject

Vertical Shear and Longitudinal Bending in Still Water

When a ship is floating in still water, she has an unevenly distributed weight because of both
cargo distribution and structural distribution. Here the buoyancy distribution is non-
uniform because the underwater sectional area is not constant along the length. The total
weight and the total buoyancy are balanced but at each section there will be a resultant
force or load, either an excess of buoyancy or excess of load. Upward and downward forces
distort the vessel.
When that ship is floating in still water with a homogeneous body of uniform cross-section
and weight, at any section the weight and buoyancy forces are equal and opposite, reason
why there is no resultant force at a section and the body will not be deformed

Bending Moments in a Seaway

When a vessel is in seaway the waves with their through and crests produce a greater
variation in the buoyant forces and it can increase bending moment, vertical shear force
and stresses. Commonly the extreme effects can be seen with the vessel balanced on a
wave of length equal to that of the ship. If the crest of that wave is amidships the buoyancy
forces tend to hog the vessel, if the through is amidships the buoyancy forces will tend to
sag the ship.

Longitudinal Shear Forces

When the vessel hogs and sags in still water shear forces just like vertical shear forces will
be present in the longitudinal plane. Vertical and longitudinal shear stresses are
complementary and work in conjunction with a change of bending moment between
adjacent sections of the hull girder.

Bending Stresses
The bending stress at any point in a beam is given by a formula. When the beam bends the
extreme fibers are in tension at the top and compression at bottom (hogging). Somewhere
between the two there is a position where the fibers are neither in tension or compression
which is called neutral axis. At the farthest fibers from this point greater stresses occur.
Neutral axis always contains the Centre of gravity of the cross section

The ship as a beam

Ships bend like a beam and the hull can be considered as a box-shaped girder in which the
position of the neutral axis and second moment of area may be calculated. The deck kand
bottom shell form the flanges of the hull girder, and are far more important to longitudinal
strength than the sides which from the web of the girder and carry the shear forces.
Bending stresses are greater over the middle portion of the length and it is owing to this
variation that Lloyds give maximum scantlings.

Strength deck
Is the deck forming the uppermost flange of the main hull girder. Along the length of the
ship the top flange of the hull girder may step from deck to deck where large
superstructures are fitted or there is a natural break.
Larger superstructures tend to deform with the main hull and stresses of appreciable
magnitude will occur in the structure. Early vessels fitted with large superstructures of light
construction demonstrated this.

Transverse Stresses
When a ship experiences transverse forces these tend to change the shape of the vessel
cross sections and thereby introduce transverse stresses. These forces may be produced by
hydrostatic loads and impact of seas or cargo structural weights both directly as a result of
reactions due to change of ship motion.
When a ship is rolling, the deck tends to move laterally relative to the bottom structure, and
the shell on one side to move vertically relative to the other side.
When any body is subject to a twisting moment which is commonly referred to as torque,
that body is said to be in torsion. A ship heading obliquely 45 degrees to a wave will be
subjected to righting moments of opposite directions at its end twisting the hull and putting
it in torsion. In most ships torsional moments and stresses are negligible but in ships with
extremely wide and long deck openings they are significant.

Local Stresses
It refers to a tendency for the shell plating to work in and out in a below-like fashion and is
caused by fluctuating pressures on the hull at the ends when the ship is amongst waves.
These forces are most severe when the vessel is running into waves and is pitching heavily.
Sever local stresses occur in way of the bottom shell and framing forward when a vessel is
driven into head seas. These pounding stresses are likely to be the most severe in a lightly
ballasted condition and occur over an area of the bottom shell aft of the collision bulkhead.
Other Local Stresses
Structural members of all vessels are often subjected to high stresses in specific areas, and
great care is necessary to make sure these areas are safely designed. This is particularly the
case where load carrying members of the ship intersect.

Brittle fracture
Occur often, with the large-scale introduction of welding in ship construction much
consideration has been given to correct selection of the materials and structural design to
prevent the possibility of brittle fracture occurring.

Fatigue Failures
Different to brittle fractures, fatigue fractures occur very slowly and can take even years to
propagate. The major danger with fatigue fractures is that they occur a low stresses which
are applied to a structure repeatedly over a period of time. A fatigue crack once initiated
may grow unnoticed until the load bearing member is reduced to a cross-sectional area
which is insufficient to carry the applied load.