The Group Design Projects are an educational exercise and the projects undertaken and designs developed during them should not be reported as representative of projects undertaken by or designs developed by the Supporters.
[Group 01] Failure to Launch
This week our aim was to develop our designs into full, detailed solutions, again ensuring that 100% evacuation is achieved in the case of any type of disaster. We formed a complete ‘SeaCure Evacuation Package’ (SEP) that includes our integrated system of the two lifeboat vessels ‘Safescape’ and ‘Evac3’, along with appropriate alarm systems, wristband schemes and LED indicators.
We focussed on detailing materials, mechanisms, connections and access routes, along with the components included within the life-saving vessels such as communication systems and desalination systems.
To present these designs effectively we had to call on Da, our team’s ‘Matlab wizard’ and Gabriel, the ‘SketchUp King’. Da finalised the ‘Evacuation Simulator 1.0’, obtaining useful outputs such as walking and evacuation times, whilst Gabriel modelled numerous aspects of our design from the innovative stair slide to detailed connections within the lifeboat systems.
Mixed emotions run through the group as the end of the project draws near... And we’ve become so fond of one another that we’re even coming in at the weekend!
Following feedback from our last critical session, this week the team decided to spend most of their time and efforts into refining the launching designs. Two of the four designs, now called the “Safescape” and the “Evac3” (only at Imperial!) were taken forward, and the team focussed on the detailing of these.
AutoCAD and Google SketchUp became our new best friends, while Da progressed onto version 0.94 of the Matlab simulation model – things were looking stylish. We managed to use the outputs of the simulation model to prove that our new lifeboat systems results in a drastic improvement of the current evacuation time.
We also staged an emergency evacuation with the help of our fellow classmates, to compare the efficiency of different seating plans within the lifeboats – certain individuals proved to be real actors/ actresses (PQ, maybe civil engineering isn’t the right career choice for you?!)
Developments were also made with regard to the evacuation strategy; we now have a clear vision as to how it would be carried out in the case of collisions, fire and grounding. We refined our proposals for distributing GPS bracelets, life jackets and smoke masks, and carrying out compulsory muster drills prior to ship departure.
This week the group focussed on solutions to overcome the problems involved with the different maritime accident types, that is, fire, grounding and collision. With the group split into two, Team ‘Life’ and Team ‘Hope’ (yes, we’re here to save the world...) half of the group tackled lifeboat launching designs for each of these scenarios whilst the other half developed evacuation strategies.
To overcome the problem of fire Team ‘Life’ came up with two launching mechanisms, the Free-fall and the Rescube. In the case of grounding, we designed ‘GuideRails’, and for collisions, the ‘Citadel’.
Team ‘Hope’ developed an evacuation strategy for the case of a collision, focussing on ship alarm systems, the potential for GPS bracelets and slides along stairs. This took into consideration human behaviour along with the awareness, evacuation, embarkation and launching times.
Luckily we have Da, the ‘famous Matlab wizard’ in our team who’s currently working on a simulation (version 0.64) of the evacuation of a ship to help us develop our designs further.
The week has been demanding yet enjoyable (especially when equipped with cookie crumble fraps); we’ve managed to work well as a team, sharing our ideas and developing them together. Over the next week we hope to refine and detail our designs further and perhaps come up with one or two general solutions that are appropriate for all accident types.
“What do you call a ship that will never ever sink? - A friendship”
Over the past 100 years there have been countless maritime disasters, resulting in over 35,000 fatalities. This began with the Titanic in 1912 where over 1500 lives were lost, and continued on to more recent events such as the Costa Concordia, which resulted in 34 deaths. As the figures show, the current limitations of lifeboat design, launch and ship evacuation strategies have lead to an inordinate number of fatalities. Our challenge is to develop advanced solutions that provide effective means of ship evacuation in cases of ship grounding, listing, sinking and full capsize to provide 100% safe evacuation. The clients are looking for radical new designs in terms of lifeboat and evacuation systems.
Who we are:
Technical Innovations, a design consultancy that promote safety driven design. To tackle this particular project, we have formed a small sister company, SeaCure. We aim to guarantee unparalleled safety, no matter the cost.
To fully appreciate and understand the problem, our team has researched countless case studies and assessed the main challenges that must be overcome. We analysed the existing lifeboat designs, launch mechanisms and current evacuation systems and highlighted their limitations. Considering these, we have developed potential evacuation strategies, in terms of risk assessments and Matlab modelling, and initial lifeboat launching designs ranging from the ‘Rollercoaster’ to the ‘Rescube’ (yes, we love wordplay) that overcome the current issues. We presented these concept designs to our client, who followed on to suggest the idea of ejecting passengers out of the ship... I think that may be taking the idea of ‘launching’ one step too far!
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