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Topic: FP7-SME-2012-BSG Research for the benefit of SMEs

Title: Reinforcement of ship structures with composites to increase load capacity_REINCO


The main objective of this Project is to demonstrate the effectiveness of the composite patch reinforcement technique in metallic ships to increase either their operational life or their load capacity by means of fatigue and corrosion reduction.


Marine and offshore structures are subjected to fatigue loading primarily due to the action of  seawater waves and the sea environment in general. The load cycles in such an environment can be in the order of a million cycles per year. Fatigue failures in these structures can take place at sites of high stress concentration that can be classified into two major categories: baseplate and weldments. Temperature and environment can play a drastic role in influencing the fatigue properties. In seawater environment where high level of corrosion is expected, a reduction of up to 50% in the fatigue limit may be anticipated.

By means of laminating multiple composite material layers on the steel (plate and weld), stresses in the steel are significantly reduced, since forces are transferred to the composite patch through the adhesive layer between the patch and the steel. The result is a remarkable enhancement of the fatigue properties of the steel structure and therefore a significant reduction of the crack propagation rate in welds and panels.

This basic principle achieves not only an increase of the load capacity of the steel structure but also opens the possibility to decrease the steel thickness. This means weight reduction and, as a consequence, less fuel consumption. Taking into account the stability of composites, this solution also improves the corrosion degradation in ships.

Partners sought and role in the project:


SME_Composites manufacturer or distributor. Companies that produce and commercialize a broad range of composite products. Special interest will be given to epoxi resins and carbon fibres suppliers. Role in the project: Collaborate with material selection which best fits project requirements.

SME_Shipyard for construction and/or repairs and maintenance. Companies that manufacture steel and/or composites boats, or within the maintenance business of both. The main requirement would be to have interest in gaining know-how and skills on steel reinforcement by means of composite materials. Role in the project: Define industrial needs, validate results, and highlight standard requirements.


Enrique Machuca García
Tel.+34 955 40 55 78 – Fax. +34 955 03 98 35
e-mail: enrique.machuca@juntadeandalucia.es