Onboard monitoring of fatigue damage rates in the hull girder

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Most new advanced ships have extensive data collection systems to be used for continuous monitoring of engine and hull performance, for voyage performance evaluation etc. Such systems could be expanded to include also procedures for stress monitoring and for decision support, where the most critical wave-induced ship extreme responses and fatigue damage accumulation can be estimated for hypothetical changes in ship course and speed in the automatically estimated wave environment.The aim of this paper is to outline a calculation procedure for fatigue damage rate prediction in hull girders taking into account whipping stresses. It is conceptually shown how such a method, which integrates onboard estimation of sea states, can be used to deduce decision support with respect to the accumulated fatigue damage in the hull girder.The paper firstly presents a set of measured full-scale wave-induced stress ranges in a container ship, where the associated fatigue damage rates calculated from a combination of the rain-flow counting method and the Palmgren-Miner damage rule are compared with damage predictions obtained from a computationally much faster frequency fatigue analysis using a spectral method. This analysis verifies the applied multi-modal spectral analysis procedure for fatigue estimation for cases where hull girder flexibility plays a role.To obtain an automated prediction method for the fatigue damage rates it is in the second part of the paper shown how a combination of the full-scale onboard acceleration and stress measurements can be used to calculate sea state parameters. These calculated environmental data are verified by a comparison to hindcast data.In the third part of the paper the full-scale fatigue stress ranges are compared to results from an analytical design oriented calculation procedure for flexible ship hulls in short-term estimated sea states.Altogether, it is conceptually shown that by a combination of the onboard estimated sea state parameters with the described analytical fatigue damage prediction procedure a method can be established for real-time onboard decision support which includes estimates of fatigue damage rates.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Structures
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)182-206
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Fatigue damage estimation
  • Onboard wave estimation
  • Decision support systems
  • Rain-flow counting
  • Full-scale measurements

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