The superstructure of large cruise ships is characterized by disjunctively distributed openings on side plates. These diverse openings are designed to meet the functional requirements of large cruise ships and to reduce the weight of the superstructure, guaranteeing the stability of ships. As the side plate is the main path of transmitting the external loads from the main hull to the superstructure, these openings would have influence on the load bearing performance of side plates. Moreover, the buckling and ultimate strength of side plates is reduced due to the existence of these openings. Therefore, it is important to consider the influence of openings on side structures in designing the superstructure of large cruise ships. The purpose of this study is to analyze the ultimate strength and loadtransmitting path on side structures, and evaluate the reinforcement methods of side plates of superstructures with openings. In this paper, the ultimate strength analyses of side structures with openings in different sizes, locations and aspect ratio are performed by employing nonlinear finite element method. Furthermore, this paper evaluates the effect of two reinforcement methods on the ultimate strength of side structures with openings. All these investigations make an extensive study of side structure with openings of cruise superstructure and may have reference value for the design and safety evaluation of cruise ships.


Compared with conventional ships, the design of superstructure on cruise ships has many special features. In order to meet requirements of the ship stability, the superstructure of cruise ships is designed with many openings in side plates to reduce structural weight. Besides, for the sake of the comfortable environment for passengers on cruise ships, the cabins usually located on the outboard side of the superstructure with balconies, floor windows or glass curtain walls, which allow light into the cabin. This is also the main reason for the large opening on side plates of superstructure, which brings higher demand for the structural strength design of cruise ships.

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