While swaged bulkheads have progressively become accepted for non-load bearing locations on U.S. built commercial ships, their widespread application in U.S. shipbuilding practice has been slowed by the lack of specific American Bureau of Shipbuilding (ABS) rules for calculating the capacities of these configurations in load bearing situations. NASSCO has carried out several National Shipyard Research Program (NSRP) projects between 2010 and 2015 to collect a body of data on the strength of swaged bulkheads, including physical testing of full-size specimens, as well as linear and non-linear finite element analyses. The goal of the current Swage Panel SVR Rule Development Project (NSRP Research Announcement 2015-402) is to work towards the implementation of swage technology into commercial vessels built in the US. Currently in the third and final phase, this project furthers the previous work performed studying swage bulkheads. NASSCO has partnered with San Diego State University (SDSU) and ABS to develop swage bulkhead design guidance specific to the commercial use of swage panels in load bearing applications that will be incorporated into the ABS Steel Vessel Rules (SVR). Physical testing to validate the local swage bulkhead non-linear finite element analysis (NLFEA) predictions has been conducted in the structures laboratory at SDSU, including compression and shear load cases. Large scale NLFEA performed using MAESTRO will incorporate swage bulkheads in vessel superstructures under realistic load profiles. This project's outcome will be a proposed rule for the 2020 ABS SVR based on the project's research, with scheduled completion in December 2018.

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