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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


MECHGN02 Ship Structures

MECHGN02 Ship Structures

The aim of the course is to give the student an advanced theoretical grounding in one of the fundamental analytical discipline fields of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering. Other fields are ship hydrodynamics and ship dynamics.

Code: MECHGN02
Alt Codes: MECHM014, MECH4014 (until 2012)
Title: Ship Structures
Level: MSc
UCL Credits/ECTS: 30
Start: September
End: March
Taught By: Dr Nick Bradbeer (Module Coordinator)



  • As exemplified by a mechanical, civil, aeronautical or other “mechanical type” engineering degree with strong structures element continued throughout
  • Where a candidate has demonstrated the appropriate intellectual capability but is deemed not to have an appropriate background in “mechanical” engineering (i.e. those with typically an electrical engineering degree obtained at a high level (2:1 or 1st class honours)) the prerequisite units can form part of a pre-qualifying year.


Three major items of coursework.

MECHGN02 Ship Structures


Ship Structural Design
Ship structural design, its place and aim in ship design;
Rational approach, primary, secondary, tertiary structure;
Structural synthesis;
Structural loads;
Quasi-static wave balance;
Probabilistic structural response;
Dynamic response effects;
Longitudinal strength, efficiency of structure and superstructure;
Ultimate longitudinal strength;
Statistical derivations, reliability methods;
Philosophies and ship structural design procedures, cost, optimisation;
Transverse torsional and lateral strength’
Continuity details;
FEM applications;
Unconventional vehicles and structures.

Finite Element Analysis
Matrix method of structural analysis, nomenclature and algebra.
Stiffness matrix for discrete members.
Force and displacement methods, merge process, transformation, substructuring.
Stiffness matrix for continuum.
General element requirements.
Errors, convergence, modelling, mesh generation.
Recent developments.

Grillage Synthesis
Grillage synthesis commencing with midship section effective thickness;
Modes of grillage failure under range of expected loadings;
Use of typical design data for grillage synthesis;
Preliminary ship grillage design methods, computer aided grillage synthesis.

Subsea Structural Design
Stress analysis of axisymmetric stiffened cylinders under external pressure;
Principal buckling pressures,
Behaviour of approximately circular cylinders;
Prediction of structural collapse modes;
Design procedures and codes;
Structural design of stiffened cones dome bulkheads;
Internal structure discontinuities and penetrations;
Developments in fatigue and non linear behaviour due to residual stress;
Applications to offshore structures.

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