Austal Ships has released details of its latest technical innovation, Microplate Technology, which results in a radical new approach to the design of jet room structures. Announcing details of the new development, Austal Director Chris Norman said that Microplate Technology in no uncertain terms, provides the best aft peak design available to the market, delivering extremely low levels of vibration and structural borne noise and consequently guaranteeing superior fatigue performance.
Together with the international classification societies (Germanischer Lloyd & Det Norske Veritas), Austal is able to evaluate the natural frequency of plate panels and plate stiffener combinations, taking into account the panels edge constraints and other variables such as water on one side of the plate panel. Various panels are then tuned to ensure their harmonics are out of phase with the natural operating frequencies generated.
In addition to this vibrational design approach, the global waterjet structure is designed to satisfactorily transmit the waterjet thrust and steering loads into the surrounding structure. The design group then creates detailed finite element analysis structural models and the results are assessed to ensure that the fatigue life of the structure is optimised. Particular attention is paid to structural detail in order to avoid discontinuities and other stress raising features.
The first applications of Microplate Technology was seen in BornholmsTrafikken’s 86 metre gas turbine Auto Express delivered to Denmark in March 2000, and soon after in the three Auto Express vessels delivered into the Aegean for Minoan Flying Dolphins.