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Ship in ice

Can we predict how accidents really happen?

Our ten-year relationship with the Pusan National Research Centre has grown its capability and capacity for pioneering marine and offshore research.

The Centre’s vision is to prevent catastrophes by better predicting how structures respond under extreme conditions. To understand and assess the complex, uncertain and ambiguous train of events when things go wrong, the Centre champions an advanced, probabilistic approach. This is needed because accidents don’t happen in a straightforward, linear way.

Over the past decade, the Foundation (along with its predecessor, the Lloyds Register Education Trust) has actively supported PNU to push at the boundaries of our knowledge of structural integrity. Cutting-edge research has been turned into transformative design and software applications for industry. As a direct result of our funding and support, we have seen the adoption of key patents that have improved safety at sea. This has included developments in gas detection, fire walls and heat shields, and we are now more informed than ever on how structures respond to abnormal, complex, nonlinear events. From collisions, groundings and explosions to rogue waves, corrosion, ageing and accidental denting, through the Foundation-funded work of PNU, industry is now better equipped to anticipate and respond to such incidents.

In creating advanced methods which can more accurately predict extreme and accidental events in shipping and offshore structures, the researchers we support are able to explore new ideas with expert leaders and contribute to the creation of innovative solutions. We are becoming increasingly aware that great ideas do not happen in isolation. They are the product of often unforeseen combinations made possible in collaborative environments.

Extreme and accidental conditions and consequences are complex to address theoretically. Testing is required, using full or large-scale, physical models.

Professor Jeom Kee Paik

PNU, Korea

Our investment not only supports engineering advances, but also has significant impact in terms of human capital. The Centre plays an important role in educating engineers of the future and securing the supply of expertise that is greatly in demand the world over. The last five-year period has seen the Centre support 93 MSc and 70 PhD students from across the globe, the majority of whom have gone into professional careers within the maritime industry or into academia.

To accelerate the application of work to date, the Foundation continues to support research and skills development at PNU with a follow-on grant of £0.5m

Behind a rare new test facility with an open agenda

During the last grant period, the Centre at PNU identified a critical safety need: that to effectively validate newly developed approaches, modelling needs to be tested at full or large scale. This is difficult to achieve in standard laboratories; very few research facilities in the world have the ability to house such large tests. Building on the Foundation’s support, the Centre was able to leverage £77 million in funding from the South Korean Government to build large-scale test facilities on a 231,000 m2 site. The test facility, known as the Korean Ship and Offshore Research Institute (KOSORI), is now up and running. An additional £0.7 million grant from the Foundation will help in two ways. It will open access to the facility and make valuable data from large-scale KOSORI tests available for the benefit of the wider maritime community.


Making a difference

How our strategy is changing perceptions

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