Southern Manufacturing

Guidelines for Composite Joints in Ships

03 September 2006

A new set of guidelines is now available summing up all the steps necessary to design, create, inspect and repair all types of bonded joints in ships.

Cruise ships and other advanced ships such as LNG tankers are increasingly utilising materials that cannot be cost-effectively joined by welding. Adhesive bonding is considered by many to be a possible solution. DNV has carried out research on using adhesives in order to be able to assist designers, ship owners and builders to meet the challenges involved in this new joining method. The new guidelines describe a general framework for the safe use of bonded joints.

The new guidelines are the result of a €4.6M research & development project partly financed by the European Commission. The aim has been to make European shipyards more competitive by achieving considerable cost savings in the production of passenger ships and high-speed craft. The focus has been on aluminium-aluminium/steel and aluminium-composite joints. The name of the project was BONDSHIP – Bonding of lightweight materials for the cost-effective production of high-speed craft and passenger ships.

The BONDSHIP project guidelines sum up all the steps necessary to design, build, inspect and repair all types of bonded joints in ships. The guidelines describe a general framework for the safe use of bonded joints. There are two parts:

Code: The objective is to provide general requirements to ensure the reliability and safety of load-carrying bonded joints in ships.
Recommended Practices: This document provides guidance and examples on how to design, produce and inspect an adhesively bonded joint. Furthermore it shall provide the basis for meeting the general requirements laid out in the Code document.

Most designers, builders and owners of ships are not aware of the possibilities (and limitations) that adhesive bonding offers. The BONDSHIP project guidelines show how to safely introduce bonded joints, first in less critical areas and increasingly also in more critical areas as service experience is gained and confidence in the long term performance is built. By making the BONDSHIP guidelines available to the public, they hope to establish a broad user base for adhesive bonding in marine structures – thus paving the way for establishing adhesive bonding as a standard joining process in shipbuilding.

DNV co-ordinated the project and developed the guidelines for the design and modelling of bonded joints, including acceptance tests and criteria. The project had 13 partners from seven nations including Vosper Thornycroft, the University of Southampton and NDT Solutions from the UK.

More information about the project and the guidelines can be found below

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