Sunday, 21 September 2014
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Plain sailing for marine suspension system

An Australian company has demonstrated marine suspension technology that gives vessels a much smoother ride on the sea surface.


Source: Nauti-Craft

Nauti-Craft have built and tested a number of prototypes, including a 4 hull craft "4Play" and most recently an 8m catamaran 2Play. Part of the design process has been an extensive dynamic simulation program

Designed to reduce slamming and roll and pitch motions, Nauti-Craft’s hydraulic suspension system for multi-hulled vessels separates hulls from the superstructure, allowing the hulls to react rapidly to waves and conform to the ocean surface without transmitting high forces and accelerations of the hulls to the deck and superstructure.

The Australian company says this provides increased levels of ride comfort, control and stability whether stationary or travelling at speed. The improvements to stability and maintaining a level attitude can be further enhanced with active control of the suspension system and applications are anticipated in commercial, military and recreational arenas. 



Readers' comments (9)

  • My first thought was that the difference in movement between the hulls could be used to harness energy, similar to wave power. A sort of hybrid system for boats. No?

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  • To extract energy from the movement would require that the system is loaded i.e. the motion would have to push appreciably against a generator of some sort to produce power which would transmit the shocks to the main hull - it would largely negate the compliance of the suspension.

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  • Shame to waste time and money on this R&D.

    'Active' hydraulic suspension is a design imperative for the catamaran, 2Play. The 4Play prototype would be much cheaper and more effective utilising an entirely passive system. It's a classic conventional error, building it to the same false design premise that creates cars with an inherent ride/handling compromise.

    Michael's right about the movement between the hulls, but not for a boat! A passive 4-float system should be used to stabilised a floating wind turbine, so that both wind and wave energy are harvested at the same time, in the same manner. i.e. pumping water into an accumulator.

    Of course, an orthodox HAWT makes no engineering sense. It's way too top heavy, so VAWTs must be the way forward offshore.

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  • The hydraulic suspension on both 2Play and 4play are "passive reactive" they require no power to operate. The active component is an optional extra which adds functionality.

    The technology is from the inventor of the Kinetic suspension systems for cars which actually breaks the compromise between ride and handling mentioned in the previous comment.

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  • Yes it looks smoother than conventional hulls, but I am going to stick with far less complex and much more efficient and smoother hydroplanes. Test one out from Helsinki to Tallin.

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  • @ Ben Allerton.

    The Kinetic hydraulic suspension only eliminates the ride/handling compromise if it is 'active'.

    So that "functionality" is not quite an "optional extra". Banking in the turns or 'tilt-steer' are always 'active' features when using the orthodox approach to chassis dynamics.

    The fact remains - a design that used no hydraulics would be far superior for boats and cars on cost, function and 'O&M'.

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  • Isn't it part of the fun when haring about in a speed boat to jump the waves with the outboard screaming and then come crashing down with a great big splash!!

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  • Too bad you don't have an extra boat hull

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  • Worries about slamming hurting the driver. Put the suspension in the seats. Less to go wrong and the technology is well proven by about a million truck drivers.
    For the boat, just make it stronger. Less weight penalty than this clunky looking option.

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