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Empirical Formula Generation for Preliminary Ship Design

Using Neural Networks

09NA1002 Surya Bhaskar Rao 09NA1008 Ambattuparambil Gopi Nikhil 09NA1014 K S C Raju 09NA3005 Ananth S N C

Preliminary Ship Design involves an iterative process of selecting parameters & coefficients like Length, Beam and Depth of a ship, calculating various features of the ship like Resistance encountered during motion, Cargo Capacity, Sea-keeping characteristics and Manoeuvrability, and then adjusting the parameters to attain better characteristics. The client only provides you with the required cargo carrying capacity and type of cargo to be transported. The job of making it economically and environmentally viable while meeting the client requirements is that of the Naval Architect. This process is a cumbersome one especially for the Naval Architect in question. For every new ship, even with the presence of old similar ship data, these calculations have to be repeated and verified. These calculations are especially tiring when data have to be collected/generated for new ship types like LPG and LNG Carriers. This is because these ships carry refrigerated cargo unlike any other ship type and need to comply with many more safety regulations. Drawn below, is a typical preliminary ship design process, iteratively changing parameters to get optimum calculation results.

Length, Breadth, Depth

Seakeeping and Maneuvering Calculations

Form Coefficients

Resistance Calculations

Weight Estimation

Problem Definition
The preliminary ship design process, as mentioned before, is a cumbersome and time-consuming process. We wish to address this problem by employing Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) while visualizing the problem from a Naval Architecture point-of-view. ANNs will be able to understand the connections between different parameters and the results of calculations. For example, the steel weight required in a ship is related to the Block Coefficient and Length, Breadth and Depth of a vessel. ANN can function here as a network that can learn the relation between them. This property of ANN (being able to learn) is what makes it a powerful tool. Each parameter is given a weightage in the network and is connected according to Naval Architecture knowledge to hidden layer units that are related to it. Similarly, to calculate viscous resistance, Naval Architects know that there are mainly 3 parameters that define viscous resistance Wetted Surface Area, Velocity and Form factor. However, all these parameters are derived from 9 basic parameters: Length, Breadth, Draft, Depth, Velocity, Block Coefficient, Mid-ship Area Coefficient, Prismatic Area Coefficient and Water-plane Area Coefficient. In this project, three problems are being addressed: Deriving Breadth from Length Deriving Steel Weight from Length, Breadth, Depth and Block Coefficient Deriving Viscous Resistance from Length, Breadth, Draft, Block Coefficient, Waterplane Area Coefficient, Midship Area Coefficient, Prismatic Coefficient, Longitudinal Centre of Buoyancy, Design Velocity

Neural Network models were developed in C Programming Language by the group for all the three problems. The architecture used for different problems are as follows: BREADTH 11 STEEL WEIGHT 621 VISCOUS RESISTANCE 10 3 1

The actual programs have been included in this CD.

Hidden Layer Selection

One layer of hidden layer was used due to its wide-spread usage and proven results for smaller neural networks. The Hidden units were selected purely based on Naval Architecture knowledge. In steel weight estimation, it is known that weight is dependent on the block coefficient and the volume of the minimum-sized block circumscribable around it.

Length Block Vol Breadth Depth

Steel Weight

Also, for viscous resistance, as Coefficient mentioned above, a lot of hull parameters contribute to the calculation. Wetted Surface Area is derived from Length, Breadth, Draft and Form coefficients whereas Form factor is a better parameter that defines the ships hull shape.


Data Collection
Ship parameters and calculated values are the most secretive data stored in a shipyard. A possibility of working with renowned research laboratories that have tested data can work towards this direction.

Conclusion & Future Scope

In conclusion, this project can serve as a starting point for research into derivation of empirical formulae for specific ship types and thus, make the job of the Naval Architect comparatively easier. Also, more input parameters can be incorporated. Parameters like ability to pass through Suez Canal, cruiser sterns, ability to dock at important ports, etc. are a little difficult to quantify but can probably be introduced using fuzzy membership functions. Also, this implies that ANNs, if trained well and for specific ship data, can take the place of the Naval Architect. The only requirement would be in designing new types of ships!