Genetic algorithm based optimisation of FRP composite plates in ship structures.
University of Southampton, School of Engineering Sciences,
Composite materials (herein means Fibre Reinforced Plastic, FRP) are increasingly usedin the construction of marine vehicles because of their outstanding strength, stiffness and
light weight properties. However, the use of FRP comes with difficulties in the design process as a result of the large number of design variables involved: composite material design, topologies and laminate schemes. All variables are related to each other leading to a high dimensional and flexible design space. It is hard to use traditional design methods in order to gain solutions for an initial design stage in a short time. Hence, this thesis deals with the presentation of a structural synthesis (optimisation framework) for plate components of composite ship structures. The framework broadly consists of an optimisation technique and structural analytical methods.
To make the framework compatible with the nature of composite ship structural design problems, the Genetic Algorithm (GA) is selected as the optimisation tool because of its robustness, its ability in dealing with both continuous and discrete variables and its excellent searching for a global optimum. The typical plate types in a ship structure are the stiffened and unstiffened plates. For a stiffened plate, the combination of the grillage analysis of energy method based on Navier solution and an equivalent elastic properties approach are introduced. Using this, it is possible to produce layer by layer optimisation results for the base plate, web and crown of the stiffened plate. Unfortunately, solutions of the adopted grillage analysis do not cover the mechanical behaviour of the plate between stiffeners so the Higher-Order Shear Deformation Theory (HSDT) must be employed.
This method provides accurate solutions for thin to moderately thick plates with a compromised computational time. Then stiffness, strength and stability can be considered in the design problem. In addition, to achieve the program of the structural synthesis, various computational modules are implemented according to the evaluation of composite micromechanics properties, maximum stress failure criteria and structural weight function. Then the main modules are validated with available resources. The usefulness of the program has been proved by comparing it with the optimal solutions from finite element software. Finally, many application examples of secondary and tertiary composite ship structures are presented. The optimal results prove the success of the optimisation framework. This could be evidence for further improvement to obtain a valuable structural optimisation tool.
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