Office of Naval Research funds ship-safety study

Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia are collaborating with colleagues at Virginia Tech to improve the fire safety of ships through a $1m (£0.7) grant from the US Office of Naval Research.

Researchers from the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (SAMME) have been awarded the grant for a project investigating models to predict the softening and failure of aluminium ship structures.

Prof Adrian Mouritz and Dr Stefanie Feih will work with researchers from Virginia Tech on the three-year project, which will involve numerical modelling of complex structures, combined with experimental testing using research facilities at RMIT and in the US.

Prof Mouritz said the grant would enable SAMME researchers to continue a seven-year series of research studies with the Office of Naval Research.

’Aluminum is increasingly being used in naval and passenger ships to reduce weight, but it is prone to softening and failure when exposed to fire,’ Prof Mouritz said.

’This new research project will develop models to predict the survivability of aluminium ship structures in fires, thereby increasing the safety for the passengers and crew.’