Composite sandwich ships have laminated joints that contribute to a significant part of the ship’s weight. Their construction requires an extensive number of man-hours. There is great potential for weight and production-time-reduction through alternative joint designs. According to class rules, one is not allowed to benefit from the load-carrying capability of the core, i.e. the strength characteristics of the core shall be disregarded and geometry at the joint location is disregarded as well. The objective of the current investigation was to investigate the possibility of constructing a joint where the load-carrying capability of the foam core is accounted for, leading to a reduction in weight and production time. One specific joint in a 23 m composite sandwich catamaran was selected for study — a side wall-wet deck T-joint. This joint is considered to be crucial for the structural integrity of the current vessel. A global finite element (FE) model of the catamaran was designed and analysed in ANSYS. The loads and boundary conditions were applied to the global model according to DNV GL’s HSLC rules. Two local FE models of the joints (2D and 3D) were utilized for a parametric analysis with respect to structure response (stress concentrations and compliance with failure and fracture criteria). Finally, the results and conclusions from the study show the possibilities and advantages of incorporating the foam core material as a load-carrying member in joint design without compromising safety.

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