Finite element damage analysis of an underwater glider–ship collision


Underwater gliders, which are profiling autonomous underwater vehicles designed to make oceanographic measurements, are increasingly used in the coastal ocean. As they regularly surface for data transmission, gliders increasingly pose a risk for fast ships. In order to estimate the extent of damage due to collision, 3D finite element simulations of collisions between a glider and a high-speed craft with a glass-fiber reinforced plastic hull are performed. Different collision scenarios such as impact locations, angles of attack and speeds are examined. The results are compared to an analytical solution based on simplifying assumptions. Although both methods reveal consistent results, it is shown that finite element simulations are required to account for the 3D shape of the ship. The results indicate that at ship velocities exceeding 7.5 m/s (14.6 kt) the glider penetrates the ship’s hull causing severe damage to its structure.
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