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Home The secret behind ships that defy the world's most extreme conditions: discover the technology that makes it possible

The secret behind ships that defy the world's most extreme conditions: discover the technology that makes it possible

12 April 2024 19 gies: 35
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Ship - Ships
Explore the technology behind the stability of large ships on the high seas. Learn about essential devices and systems

Explore the technology behind the stability of large ships on the high seas. Learn about essential devices and systems

In modern times, even large ships can remain stable even in extreme weather conditions. Some ships even have the ability to right themselves when capsized by waves. Let's go explore technology behind these unsinkable ships.

Large ships, such as cargo ships that weigh hundreds of thousands of tons, often remain stable even when hit by giant waves. When a ship sails at sea, it is subject to various forces and pressures from waves and wind. To survive, all ships are built with a stability system, which is the balance of the ship when it floats. So when the ship is tossed by waves or wind, it can right itself again.

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Devices to Maintain Ship Stability

There are several devices used to maintain the stability of the ship, including the side keels. Side keels are shaped like wings or fins and are installed on the side of the ship's hull. They extend for about two-thirds of the ship's length, and their stability effect increases as the ship travels faster.

The side keels are shaped like a wing or fin and are installed on the side of the ship's hull. Source: Nauctis

Another type of stability device is the anti-roll tank, which is a tank that functions to stabilize the ship's position when it lists to the left or right. It is installed across the width of the ship, and when the ship tilts to one side, the water in the tank flows out, significantly reducing the ship's rolling motion. The anti-rolling tank has two types: active and passive. In an active rolling tank, the water flow mechanism in both tanks is more complex and uses a pump.

Another type of stability device is the anti-roll tank. Source: Nauctis

The next type of stability device is the active fin stabilizer, which is a fin-shaped device and functions to dampen the rolling or pitching motion of the ship. The fin stabilizer is installed on both sides of the ship's hull and can move in multiple directions controlled by the ship's sensitive gyroscopic system. When the ship is rolling or tilting, the ship's sensitive gyroscopic system sends a signal to the activation system in the form of electro-hydraulics.

Active fins, a fin-shaped device and function to dampen the rotational or pitching motion of the ship. Source: Nauctis

Additional ship stability systems

On container ships, there is an anti-tilt system which is a servo control system designed to keep the ship horizontal during loading and unloading at ports. Anti-tilt cannot be used as a stabilization system in open seas and can only be used when the ship is in port loading and unloading containers. The anti-tilt system is used to detect the ship's heel angle and to automatically balance the ship by pumping water into the ballast tank from right to left or vice versa.

A ship's stability system is influenced by its balance points, which determine the magnitude of the ship's stability. For this reason, the ship's balance points must always be considered by the crew, as one of the main causes of accidents is neglecting the ship's stability calculations, whether the ship is at sea or in port.

Challenges in maritime rescue operations

During maritime rescue operations, extreme weather conditions and high sea waves can hamper search and rescue (SAR) operations and potentially cause the ship to capsize. To meet this challenge, engineers around the world have developed rescue ships with the concept of self-steering boats, which are capable of returning to their original position even when turned 180 degrees.

Crucial elements in self-driving boats

There are several crucial elements in creating self-driving ships that allow them to return to position on their own. The first element involves the initial design of the ship, where all heavy equipment and objects must be positioned as low as possible within the ship.

The second element is the ship's operational and control area, which must be light, strong and filled with air. Furthermore, the crew access door must be watertight to prevent water from entering when the ship capsizes. On self-driving ships, there is also a pendulum system designed to prevent water from entering the ship's interior during operation. When the self-steering ship turns, the weights in the pendulum system hang vertically, causing all open sections to automatically close and prevent water from entering the ship.

These self-driving ships also have an onboard system that detects whether the boat is capsized. This system automatically protects the boat by turning off the radar and engines before righting the boat back to its original position. Once the boat returns to its normal position, the radar and engines restart. Additionally, crew members inside the boat must be seated and secured with seat belts to ensure their safety during a capsizing event.

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