Skip to main content
To KTH's start page To KTH's start page

Framework for holistic design of ferries focusing on lightweight ice going hulls.

Time: Thu 2022-09-29 10.00

Location: F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26 & 28, Stockholm

Video link:

Language: English

Subject area: Vehicle and Maritime Engineering

Doctoral student: Harsha Cheemakurthy , Lättkonstruktioner, marina system, flyg- och rymdteknik, rörelsemekanik, Naval Architecture

Opponent: Associate Professor Jani Romanoff, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Marine Technology, Aalto University, Finland

Supervisor: Karl Garme, Farkostteknik och Solidmekanik; Zuheir Barsoum, Teknisk mekanik, VinnExcellence Center for ECO2 Vehicle design; Magnus Burman, Farkostteknik och Solidmekanik

Export to calendar


Waterborne public transportation (WPT) is slowly increasing in importance as an active component of public transportation networks in cities. City planners are looking at WPT to overcome urban congestion and pollution. However, prevalent challenges like ferry procurement, poor state of existing ferry fleets and technical challenges like the presence of ice, have created reluctance in the minds of public transport providers (PTPs).  While contemporary research shows ferries can be economical and environmentally friendly, there are some fundamental challenges that need to be addressed before PTPs can feel confident.

In this regard, deterrents from PTP’s perspective are identified and solutions are investigated, starting with a systematic characterization of WPT. A definite structure for operational requirements is proposed in an objective manner. Using these as basis, two standard ferry sizes that could fulfil multiple WPT roles in majority of cities are introduced. For establishing city-wise tailoring, platform-architecture based modularization of ferries is proposed. The ferry modules are tailored with respect to operational requirements in a clear and objective manner through the introduction of an evaluation methodology. The method incorporates economic, social, environmental, and regulatory stakeholders. These proposed solutions are aimed at improving PTP’s confidence in WPT and provides solutions for the marine industry to produce quick, cost efficient and tailored ferries. 

Next, the scope is focused towards investigating sustainable operations in freshwater ice conditions, typically found in the Stockholm region in Sweden. The ice going ferries today operate with ice strengthened heavy hulls. While they work well in ice, they perform poorly in comparison with non-ice going ferries during ice free months. Correspondingly, solutions towards lightweight ice going hulls are investigated. 

This investigation starts with understanding ice-hull interaction mechanisms. Then, techniques to estimate the ice loads are investigated. We adopt a probabilistic approach to tackle the limitations due to the stochastic nature of ice and a lack of experimental data. The resulting load cases are used for evaluating lightweight structural concepts. 

The investigation is approached by dividing ice-hull interaction into quasi-static, dynamic and abrasive loading phases. Several candidates corresponding to the first two loading phases are investigated parametrically. The range of structural concepts include metal grillages, bio-inspired composites, and sandwich structures. Realistic loading models for quasi-static and impact mechanisms are developed and validated with experiments. The winning candidates for each loading phase are combined to propose a tri-layer lightweight structural concept. Three candidates for the concept are evaluated and compared.

The thesis answers several questions that riddle WPT today. But at the same time, it raises new questions. Several directions for future work are identified. With continued development, it would be possible to see modularly tailored ferries operating with lightweight hulls in WPT systems around the world.