The International Centre for Advanced Safety Studies (ICASS) is opening its internationally significant test facilities to scientists and engineers worldwide, with help from a grant from the Lloyd’s Register Foundation. ICASS is a 21-hectare site with equipment that pits the materials ships are made from against the forces that cause catastrophes – explosions, fires, collisions and others.
It is run by one of our long-standing grant partners, the Korea Ship and Offshore Research Institute (KOSORI), based at South Korea’s Pusan National University (PNU). It’s helping the global maritime industry understand catastrophic incidents, and prevent them from happening again.
Professor Jeom-Kee Paik, FREng, from PNU explains:
“Despite significant efforts at every stage of design, construction, operation, and decommissioning, marine accidents such as fires, explosions, collisions, grounding, hull-girder collapse and sinking continue to happen in the maritime industry. Such extreme and accidental conditions and their consequences are highly nonlinear and complex to address theoretically.
“Protecting ships and offshore structures from the impact of these events – which can cause death and serious harm to life, property and the environment – is a problem that can only be solved with certainty by advanced computational models which have been validated by comparison with large-scale, physical tests.”
Testing such as this requires large-scale models, which are very expensive and take up a lot of space. These limitations put them out of reach of most research engineers in academia and industry.
One example is the subsea test bed, designed to assess the performance of subsea systems such as gas and oil pipelines against the impact of pressures and temperatures. There is also an outdoor fire/explosion test facility, which provides the space to carry out full-scale testing of how the pressure and temperature of an explosion, and the dynamics of a fire, are affected by environmental conditions such as wind.
The ICASS test facilities were built at a cost of £77 million (Korean government funding leveraged with help from the Foundation’s original grant). They include large-scale equipment designed to put materials and structures to the test against potentially lethal forces from structural buckling collapse, fires, explosions and sub-sea hyperbaric pressure.
We’re now helping KOSORI to open the ICASS facilities to the wider world of science and engineering, spreading the learning across the global maritime community. We’re also supporting KOSORI in making its data accessible on an open digital platform.
KOSORI was set up to be a global hub for research into the structural integrity and systems performance of ships and offshore installations when faced with extreme and accidental events. The research is used both in academia and in industry. In creating advanced methods which can more accurately predict marine accidents and the effects of extreme conditions in shipping and offshore structures, KOSORI researchers are helping create innovative solutions.
Over the past decade, we’ve actively supported KOSORI researchers 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. It’s now working with universities in Europe and elsewhere (including a partnership between the University of Strathclyde and passenger cruise line Royal Caribbean) to push for better, safer ships.
As a direct result of Foundation funding and support, KOSORI’s work has led to the adoption of key patents that have improved safety at sea. This has included developments in gas detection, fire walls and heat shields, giving the global maritime industry better information on how structures respond to abnormal, complex, nonlinear events. From collisions, groundings and explosions to rogue waves, corrosion, ageing and accidental denting, shipping is now better equipped to anticipate and respond to such incidents.