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General buckling mode of a submarine pressure hull

From: SIEMENS Company, Predictive Engineering

Case Study: Submarine certification is an FEA first.
The American Bureau of Shipping recently certified a submarine solely on the basis of finite element analysis and strain sensor testing.

Submarine design typically follows American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) code, which establishes properties such as hull thickness, frame stiffness, porthole and hatch design and so on. During certification, ABS evaluates whether a design follows the relevant codes and then certifies it or not on that basis. But what happens when you have a submarine whose design is so unique that some ABS rules cannot be adhered to? That’s the situation Predictive Engineering encountered when the company was asked to get involved in the development of a deep-diving submarine commissioned by a private company.

The company had specific requirements for its vessel. First, it had to be capable of diving to a depth of 1,200 feet. That feature alone made it unique among privately owned submarines, most of which are tourist vessels that rarely go below 30 feet and are rated for a depth of 100 feet at most. Second, the company wanted extra large viewing ports, and along with them a sophisticated video imaging system with sufficient lighting to intimately observe the marine environment. Comfortable seating for ten passengers (including crew) was another requirement. In terms of performance, the submarine was to have a submerged endurance time of eight to 10 hours and emergency life support sufficient to sustain 10 adults for at least 72 hours. Finally, the weight of the submarine could not exceed the limitations of the existing surface support unit (a rather large yacht).

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