Flagellation Testing of Composite Finger Skirts for Surface Effect Ship (SES) Application
Holliday, Natalie Marie
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The objective of this research is to create flagellation data for SES finger skirts. The SES design allows it to have a high tonnage with low draft, little drag, low wavemaking resistance, remarkable carrying capacity, and incredible propulsive efficiency. A SES is a sidehull hovercraft, with air cavity sealing components at the bow and stern. The fingers at the bow collectively make up an elastic, flexible full sealing skirt, dissipating oncoming waves and allowing for the vessel to be self-stabilizing. The problem with SES vessels is that the bow finger skirts wear significantly over a short period of time (~ 1,000 hrs.) due to the high frequency flapping of the skirt hitting the water surface. This causes the skirt to tear at its edges, a failure called flagellation. By changing the material of these bow finger skirts, the design of the finger skirt can be optimized. With an optimal material and optimal design, it is hypothesized that the finger skirts will experience longer life. This longer life can decrease the maintenance costs of the SES, making it a strong competitor for plenty of applications, like a crew transport vessel, high-speed ferry ship, or even a cargo ship. For this research, a small-scale model SES was made to test small-scale components of a SES. Small-scale sample finger skirt flagellation was tested, and the data was inputted into an ARENA model. The subsequent data was then inputted into an ANOVA study to make recommendations proving optimal material changes. This ANOVA study showed significant difference between alternatives, so the SES with a more fatigue-resistant finger skirt was selected as the optimal alternative.