In the OptiStress project, we will research new methods for ship design optimisation and stress testing, to help make future ships safer, greener, and more capable.
A modern ship is a complex and sophisticated piece of engineering. Whether it is doing millimeter-precision installations at thousand-meter depths or high lifts in high seas, the ship's performance is the result of an interplay between a wide range of components – from heavy machinery to precise instruments and advanced control systems.
The design and building of such a ship is a major challenge, especially considering the fact that many ships are custom made, one-off products. In other words, there are no prototypes available for testing. There are also organisational challenges due to the large number of companies involved in delivering different components, each of which is a complex system in its own right.
Co-simulation has gained traction in the industry in recent years as a method to deal with these issues. It allows the actors involved in a ship design to collaborate on building a simulated representation of it – a virtual prototype.
In OptiStress, we will study how co-simulation can be used in conjunction with numerical optimisation methods in order to automatically suggest good design choices. For example, one could use it to determine which combination of power and propulsion machinery will allow a ship to perform certain operations with the lowest emissions.
We will also investigate co-simulation-based methods for automatic stress testing of proposed ship designs. Here, the idea is to simulate ship operations in extreme or unusual conditions to identify weaknesses and safety violations.
The project results are expected to contribute to safer and more environmentally friendly ships, better and more efficient ship design methods, improved collaboration in the industry, and, as a result, cost reductions in the ship design and shipbuilding process.