Structural Glass in Superyacht Applications: Overcoming Challenges, Design Standards and Analysis Methods
Structural glass has become a popular material in marine applications. It has been used to enhance the transparency not only in luxury yachts but also in passenger vessels like cruise-ships. Yacht designers being inspired by all-glass facades and structural glass pavilions are trying to adopt these achievements and promote the glass design and engineering technology in the shipbuilding industry. However, designing glass elements in a marine environment involves more challenges comparing to civil applications. Glass engineers should not only consider in their calculations the wind loads and the movements of the support structure, but also the significantly higher wave loads and accelerations due to the ship movement. In addition, the watertightness of the windows is particularly important for the integrity of the vessel and the safety of the passengers. Finally, the thickness and weight of the glass can influence significantly not only the cost but also the stability of the whole vessel. The aim of this paper is to describe the typical requirements a glass window in superyacht applications needs to fulfil, possible challenges a glass engineer will meet and methods to overcome these challenges. In addition, we will present the most important design standards and compare them with relevant standards from the building industry. We will then explore the most common analysis methods and their impact on the accuracy of the results and glass build-up optimization. Adhesive connections of the glass elements to the main structure will also be described as these are the main mechanism to accommodate the hogging, sagging and torsional deformations of a hull in case of a stormy sea.