Finite Element Method for Assessment of Air Cushion Skirt Performance
Lipscomb, Thomas Arthur
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The objective of this thesis is to create a method of simulating the performance of new materials for use in air cushion vehicle skirts. These systems currently exhibit unacceptable design lifetimes to be considered for widespread adoption, except in specific applications such a military or rapid transport, where high cost is not an obstacle. This project also focuses on using a new high strain to failure resin system that has recently been developed, in combination with high performance reinforcing fibers, to increase the lifespan of the skirt systems. Using industry-standard finite element modelling (FEM) software, a 3d model of the skirt system for a hypothetical surface-effect ship (SES) was produced. A method for estimating design loads for input into the model was outlined. Based on properties obtained through destructive mechanical testing, theoretical laminate schedules were produced to exceed the performance of traditional materials. By using simulation tools instead of physical testing, many more design iterations may be attempted. In addition to the virtual model, a production method was also devised that would enable the manufacture of the proposed skirt system. The geometry of the skirt has also been modified from typical ACV to take advantage of this method.