Lightweight Structures and Fire Safety
 
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Lightweight Structures and Fire Safety

      5/31/2005

Lightweight Structures and Fire Safety

A research project that will investigate fire risks associated with various lightweight structure designs has been recently started by SP Swedish National Testing and Research Institute. The project brings together several Swedish shipping lines, shipyards, ship designers, defence industry and various industry organisations. Lightweight products and lightweight structural designs are becoming increasingly important in the construction of high-speed vessels. Various composites and aluminium materials are being used in order to reduce weight. However, the development and use of lightweight materials at sea is being impeded not only by various technical problems but also by classification and design rules that are based on the use of steel.

The major obstacle in the way of greater use of lightweight materials at sea is the requirement for fire safety. Lightweight materials generally have lower fire resistance than conventional steel, and they can in fact also make a direct contribution to a fire if, for example, plastic materials are used. However, various means of improving fire safety are available, and will be investigated in this project. The main objective of the project is to develop and demonstrate methods of using lightweight materials and lightweight designs in ships and small craft. Combinations of steel, aluminium and composites will be investigated. Vessel types in which use of the various material combinations could be of interest include ro-ro vessels, high-speed passenger ferries, fully composite vessels (e.g. stealth-type naval vessels) and smaller tankers. It is hoped that some of the results of the project will also benefit the recreational craft sector.


 

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