

02042020, 15:32

#1

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Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 66

Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
How to go about quantifying the various loads on a catamaran? Static loads are easy. Twisting loads? Waves crashing into the side of the hull? Dropping off the back side of a wave at speed? What is the largest load that a catamaran structure will be subjected to?
How do designers go about determining just what these loads will be? Any good resources out there?
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02042020, 16:10

#2

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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: charleston
Boat: bristol 27
Posts: 3,605

Re: Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
It's really difficult to calculate without more information. Most boats don't break from waves but from hitting something solid.
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02042020, 17:05

#3

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Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,222

Re: Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
There is a rule of thumb that makes a lot of sense to me. The biggest loads a catamaran will experience are on the ground.
Take your catamaran, prop it up on all four corners. Now remove one of the props. Nothing should happen. If nothing happens when you do that, your boat is in good shape for the water. This is one of the tests I did before launching mine.
Remove one at a time, leaving the other three, and do it at all four corners.



02042020, 17:52

#4

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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Petersburg, AK
Boat: Outremer 50S
Posts: 2,925

Re: Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
I know that Woods, for one, advocates this as a litmus test, but it really doesn't make any sense. A very stiff boat could still rotate about the diagonal. If you remove the support under one stern the other bow may raise. The boat could still be perfectly stiff, rotating about the diagonal line between the supported bow and the supported stern. Whether it will or not depends entirely on the weight distribution, not on the stiffness/strength of the vessel. Since I haven't tried it on any vessels, it's only a guess, but I suspect in most cases you'd have better luck with this removing a bow support than a stern.
From a calculation perspective you can look at the weight of one hull floating the entire structure, the other in air and including the sail forces required to get you there. That gets close to the worst case loading of the entire structure, in any other case (both hulls with some buoyancy) the loading on the structure is less. There are some cases where the torsional load might be greater, and those are much harder to assess.
Dynamic loading from a wave hit is an entirely different question, as it is a concentrated load that happens on a section of a boat. At the same time there are tons of formulae for calculating scantlings to deal with that question (see Skene's, for instance), and it doesn't really matter if the boat has one, two, or three hulls.



02042020, 20:00

#5

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Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 66

Re: Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsanduril
I know that Woods, for one, advocates this as a litmus test, but it really doesn't make any sense. A very stiff boat could still rotate about the diagonal. If you remove the support under one stern the other bow may raise. The boat could still be perfectly stiff, rotating about the diagonal line between the supported bow and the supported stern. Whether it will or not depends entirely on the weight distribution, not on the stiffness/strength of the vessel. Since I haven't tried it on any vessels, it's only a guess, but I suspect in most cases you'd have better luck with this removing a bow support than a stern.
From a calculation perspective you can look at the weight of one hull floating the entire structure, the other in air and including the sail forces required to get you there. That gets close to the worst case loading of the entire structure, in any other case (both hulls with some buoyancy) the loading on the structure is less. There are some cases where the torsional load might be greater, and those are much harder to assess.
Dynamic loading from a wave hit is an entirely different question, as it is a concentrated load that happens on a section of a boat. At the same time there are tons of formulae for calculating scantlings to deal with that question (see Skene's, for instance), and it doesn't really matter if the boat has one, two, or three hulls.

The hulls I am creating will be bulletproof basically, what I am concerned about is the loading on the aluminum crossmembers during extreme events. Useful information would be something like maximum expected force from a wave strike per square foot of surface area. How many times stronger than baseline common loads does a structure need to be to withstand thousands of cycles. Even how strong a length of weld is compared to the material.



02042020, 20:28

#6

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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Petersburg, AK
Boat: Outremer 50S
Posts: 2,925

Re: Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
Not my favorite site, but there is an interesting paper on Academia.edu that addresses your specific question. If you have/can create an account could be an interesting read. If you can’t access I might be able to download and send, but not before tomorrow earliest.



02042020, 22:30

#7

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Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 66

Re: Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsanduril
Not my favorite site, but there is an interesting paper on Academia.edu that addresses your specific question. If you have/can create an account could be an interesting read. If you can’t access I might be able to download and send, but not before tomorrow earliest.

Alas, that article is beyond my mathematical ability to decipher. Thank you though.



02042020, 22:43

#8

Writing FullTime Since 2014
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Deale, MD
Boat: PDQ Altair, 32/34
Posts: 7,064

Re: Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
Quote:
Originally Posted by dustman
Alas, that article is beyond my mathematical ability to decipher. Thank you though.

You're asking for a degree in engineering or marine architecture through forum posts. Like every other engineer, you need to start with structural and dynamic basics, and work your way up. Or you can look at other boats of similar size and copy. Those are your options.
I'm not being mean. You asked a big question. Even experienced engineers have to estimate values based on assumptions about gusts and sea states. They calculate and they build of experience.



02042020, 23:17

#9

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Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 139

Re: Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
Is it an aluminium cat? Or otherwise why are you using aluminium beams rather than box ply beams for instance.
I had an open bridgedeck 31' cruising cat using mast section beams and there was noticeable flex in a seaway. Not much and probably not a problem mechanically but, with that and the three wire rotating rig, it did mean the lee shroud could get pretty slack and whipped a bit going to windward.
I would prefer the boat rigid I think.



02042020, 23:22

#10

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Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 66

Re: Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater
You're asking for a degree in engineering or marine architecture through forum posts. Like every other engineer, you need to start with structural and dynamic basics, and work your way up. Or you can look at other boats of similar size and copy. Those are your options.
I'm not being mean. You asked a big question. Even experienced engineers have to estimate values based on assumptions about gusts and sea states. They calculate and they build of experience.

That's what I'm asking for, is the best estimated values, which I can apply to my design. There must be commonly accepted values out there. Aside from wave impacts I believe I can roughly estimate other variables, then build in a sizeable safety margin.
I guess a good question would be whether a beam on breaking wave impact would be the greatest stress that would likely be imposed on a catamaran's structure. In my mind the answer is yes.
If I knew the greatest probable breaking wave velocity and associated water column volume for a given area I could calculate the force. I need numbers though and not sure where to get them.



02042020, 23:49

#11

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Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 66

Re: Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
Quote:
Originally Posted by NevilleCat
Is it an aluminium cat? Or otherwise why are you using aluminium beams rather than box ply beams for instance.
I had an open bridgedeck 31' cruising cat using mast section beams and there was noticeable flex in a seaway. Not much and probably not a problem mechanically but, with that and the three wire rotating rig, it did mean the lee shroud could get pretty slack and whipped a bit going to windward.
I would prefer the boat rigid I think.

Yes, the basic structure would be aluminum beams, with fine foam and fiberglass hulls, very small cabin on deck, ketch with freestanding masts. Thinking 32'x20'. To me, an aluminum frame seems much simpler and like it would have greater longevity. Also, far fewer variables as the properties of a basic aluminum structure would be much easier to predict than a complex composite structure with many variables. Would be much easier and faster to build as well. I am not a trained engineer so I'm going to stick with something I can manage.
Your cat had solid wooden beams? What diameter?
Thanks for the feedback.



03042020, 00:35

#12

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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Seattle
Boat: Cal 40
Posts: 2,607

Re: Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
Quote:
Originally Posted by dustman
That's what I'm asking for, is the best estimated values, which I can apply to my design. There must be commonly accepted values out there. Aside from wave impacts I believe I can roughly estimate other variables, then build in a sizeable safety margin.
I guess a good question would be whether a beam on breaking wave impact would be the greatest stress that would likely be imposed on a catamaran's structure. In my mind the answer is yes.
If I knew the greatest probable breaking wave velocity and associated water column volume for a given area I could calculate the force. I need numbers though and not sure where to get them.

While not catamarans, the Around the World racing boats, particularly when they started using canting keels broke a lot and badly. Big money went into those programs presumably with lots of engineering. Did they underestimate the dynamic loads? So they're still having to guess?



03042020, 02:11

#13

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Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 501

Re: Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
This is a complex issue and using aluminum adds to this by introducing rigid connections and fatigue factors that are different from composite materials.
Loads, forces and fatigue are discussed in this article. Considerations for Seaworthiness refer to the section near the end of the article Construction and Fatigue  Integrated Structure
You mention a ketch rig, are you planning a birig one mast in each hull or one behind the other on the centre line?



03042020, 02:27

#14

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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Caribbean
Boat: Jeanneau 57
Posts: 1,738

Re: Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
I highly recommend you get this book: https://www.amazon.com/PrinciplesYa.../dp/0071826408
It contains the engineering information you are looking for and, in addition to being a great reference with an excellent index, it can also be read as a book.



03042020, 02:38

#15

Registered User
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 501

Re: Calculating dynamic loads on a Catamaran?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanshin

An excellent book but with virtually no references to multihulls and in particular the loadings that the OP is concerned with.
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