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Teaser, summary, work performed and final results

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FIBRESHIP (Engineering, production and life‐cycle management for the complete construction of large‐length FIBRE‐based SHIPs)


FIBRESHIP project addresses the lack of a regulatory framework focused on Fibre-Reinforced Polymers (FRP) technology applied to vessels larger than 500GT. Since the 1930s, FRP materials started to be used in boat hull building as part of a manufacturing experiment using fibre...


FIBRESHIP project addresses the lack of a regulatory framework focused on Fibre-Reinforced Polymers (FRP) technology applied to vessels larger than 500GT. Since the 1930s, FRP materials started to be used in boat hull building as part of a manufacturing experiment using fibre glass fabric and polyester resin laid in a foam mould. In fact, nowadays most of the leisure crafts, sailing yachts, ferries, patrol and rescue vessels below 50 meters length are built in FRP materials due to its benefits regarding weight reduction maintaining enough structural resistance. FRP applications have revolutionized entire industries, including aerospace, aeronautical, automotive, etc. However, FRP technology has not been totally spread to the entire ship industry due to the regulatory framework and the lack of studies which confirm it as a feasible technology to large vessels.
After a preliminary analysis of the current shipping market and other engineering fields significant for FIBRESHIP (such as numerical modelling, ship design, shipbuilding, inspection, maintenance and standardization procedures), FRP technology for large vessels is a market niche ready to be explore and exploit for stakeholders of the European Union. This project encourages new high-level technological innovations, positioning the consortium at the cutting edge of their field of specialization and empowering their business in the maritime sector. Furthermore, FRP use in large-length ships will imply a significant structural weight reduction (more than 50%) and a relevant impact in fuel saving, ship stability and environmental impact (reducing greenhouse gas emissions and underwater noise), along with an increase of cargo capacity.
The main objective of FIBRESHIP project is to generate a new EU-market and regulatory framework to build large-length ships in FRP enabling its massive application in shipbuilding industry. In order to achieve this objective, different actions will be conducted:
- Development & identification of FRP materials for different applications (long-term structural strength and fire resistance).
- Elaboration of innovative design procedures and guidelines supported on new validated software analysis tools specifically developed for FRP material use.
- Designing & application of performance indicators in the evaluation of 3 vessels categories (container, ROPAX and fishing research vessel) to be developed within the project.
- Implementation of efficient production methodologies and demonstration of them as a ship block of a fishing research vessel (demonstrator).
- Life cycle cost-benefits analysis considering FRP materials in large-length ships, developing a business plan for the different actors in the value chain (design, engineering, material production, shipbuilding and dismantling).
- Monitoring & inspection methodologies development in order to set a structural health monitoring control along the vessel life cycle.
FIBRESHIP project is possible thank to the European Commission support based on the Grant Agreement 723360 of H2020 funding program.

Work performed

First period of FIBRESHIP project (Grant Agreement 723360) has been ended as expected in the work plan of the project. All the work performed and results are summarized as follows:
• This analysis has involved evaluation of trends, competition, statutory framework, barriers potential benefits and forecasts for the usability of FRP materials on large scale vessels, along with a SWOT analysis focused on all involved stakeholders.
• Several experimental campaigns have been performed, consisting of mechanical, fatigue and fire performance assessment of FRP materials.
• A selection of best candidates depending of the structural component has been carried out as well as a set of joining techniques eligible to composite structures.
• A literature review has been conducted on the current marine regulatory framework relevant to the use of FRP materials, to identify gaps or inadequate provisions on vessel design, shipbuilding and operation. Investigation of the design load cases, safety factors and other criteria have been already performed. New design guidelines will be based on fire and structural performance criteria.
• The design of 3 different vessel types (container ship, ROPAX and fishing research vessel) in composite material has started and is halfway through.
• Definition of production methodologies combining different inputs from other tasks of the project to reach a cost-efficient balance between design and production strategies, considering modular subdivision and production sequencing.
• Different strategies regarding inspection, life cycle, health monitoring and waste treatment for FIBERSHIP solutions have been addressed.
• Development of CAE/FEA suite made up of different coupled numerical models (FRP mechanical and thermo-mechanical response in terms of constitutive elements, hull-girder long term hydro-structural behavior, local structural health monitoring assessment).
• Calibration and validation of all numerical models developed is in progress through standard benchmarks and generated experimental data.
• Vibro-acoustics tests to validate numerical models of vibration and noise were carried out in a small length vessel of composite material.
• A full-scale testing campaign in a 240m container ship will be performed to obtain data to validate the hydro-structural numerical model developed in FIBRESHIP in harsh sea states.
• A ship block of a Fishing Research Vessel (FRV) was selected as a full-scale demonstration of the design and production solutions proposed in FIBRESHIP project.

Final results

Along the FIBRESHIP 1st period (Grant Agreement 723360), several progresses beyond the state of the art of composite materials in shipbuilding of large vessels have been achieved. The current state of the art regarding the use of composite materials in shipbuilding is clear, limiting the use of these materials for vessels below 500GT as it is stated in IMO SOLAS rules, which represents an unsurpassed constriction to the development of this technology in the maritime sector.
This limitation of use is mainly due to the structural and fire safety aspects included in the standard, blocking this technology and avoiding the spreading of composite material as building material in maritime industry. FIBRESHIP expects to change this fact proposing innovations and studies regarding composite materials applications laying a foundation to develop new guidelines and engineering methodologies for this sort of vessels and opening an interesting market niche for the rest of European companies.
At the end of the 1st period, results regarding: experimental results, specific numerical models (half of them already validated), midship section design of the vessels selected, shipbuilding strategies for large vessels in composite and a validated design of a fishing research vessel block in composite and including the innovations obtained in FIBRESHIP project.

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