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Naval Architecture & Ocean Engineering
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EN358: Ship Structures

Catalog Description

EN358: Ship Structures (3-2-4)

This course introduces fundamental ship structural design and analysis processes.  Course topics include hull-girder strength analysis (longitudinal/vertical), bending moments in a seaway, plate theory, development of a ship’s structural design, submarine pressure hull design, and shipbuilding materials.  Midshipmen are introduced to theoretical and regulation-based approaches to structural design, as well as a variety of finite element analysis (FEA) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) design/optimization tools.


  • Ship Structural Design: Notes for an Undergraduate Course (Miller and Stettler, 2017)
  • The Principles of Naval Architecture Series: Strength of Ships and Ocean Structures (Mansour and Liu, 2008)
  • Ship Structural Analysis and Design (Hughes and Paik, 2010)
  • Ship Structural Design: A Rationally-Based, Computer-Aided, Optimization Approach (Hughes, 1988)
  • Rules for Building and Classing Steel Ships (ABS, 2009)
  • Structural Design Manual for Naval Surface Ships (NAVSEA, 1976)
  • Roark's Formulas for Stress and Strain (Young and Budynass, 2011)
  • MATLAB for Engineers (Moore, 2017)


  1. Perform the preliminary structural design of a ship, demonstrating a basic understanding of various structural loads, types/control of material stresses, primary/secondary structural failure modes, classification society rules/regulations, factor-of-safety (FoS) values, and material selection.
  2. Understand/apply a basic global hull-girder bending analysis to the design of a ship structure, including calculations of vertical global hull-girder bending loads, section modulus values, and associated bending stresses.
  3. Understand/apply the basic concepts of shear stress to ship structural design, including shear flow effects and shear lag effects.
  4. Understand/apply the basic concepts of beam bending, plate bending, and stiffened panel bending to overall ship structural design.
  5. Understand/apply the basic concepts of column buckling, plate buckling, and stiffened panel buckling to overall ship structural design.
  6. Understand the basic process for applying matrix stiffness methods, finite element analysis (FEA), and computer-aided engineering (CAE) design/optimization tools to the design of a ship structure.


  • EN221/EN222, Engineering Mechanics with Marine Applications I/II, AND
  • EN247, Principles of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, AND
  • EN380, Naval Material Science and Engineering

Class Topics

  1. Ship Structural Components & Loads
  2. Structural Failure Modes, Corrosion, & Fatigue
  3. Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary Structural Design Approaches
  4. Quasi-Static Global Hull-Girder Bending Analysis
  5. Weight/Buoyancy Curve Development
  6. Shear Stress Analysis
  7. Frame Analysis (Matrix Methods)
  8. Plate Theory & Design
  9. Beam-Column Analysis & Design
  10. Plate Buckling
  11. Stiffened Panel Theory & Design
  12. Preliminary Structural Design Of A Midship Section

Computer Usage

Midshipmen are required to make extensive use of Microsoft Excel, MATLAB, various finite element analysis programs (SolidWorks, LISA, etc.), and Rhinoceros.  Advanced spreadsheet features, such as conditional logic, table lookup features, intrinsic functions, and optimization, may be introduced and utilized.  At a minimum, midshipmen will develop proficiency generating spreadsheets to calculate the section modulus of an entire ship's midship section.  The midshipmen are also encouraged to use MATLAB and/or a macro-infused spreadsheet to solve systematic design equations, including multi-variable optimization algorithms.

Laboratory Projects

  1. Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) Tool Introduction (Excel, MATLAB, SolidWorks, LISA, Rhinoceros, etc.)
  2. Engineering Problem-Solving & MATLAB Script Development
  3. Boundary Conditions & Global Hull-Girder Bending Exercise
  4. Weight Curve Calculation & Section Modulus Exercise
  5. Box-Beam Bending Demonstration (Non-Destructive Testing)
  6. Balsa Beam Design, Construction, & Testing
  7. Plate Bending (FEA Exercise)
  8. Stiffened Panel (FEA Exercise)
  9. Stiffened Panel Design, Construction, & Testing
  10. Midship Section Design & Analysis
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