Claiming 1st place prize four times in the past seven years in the Dr. James A. Lisnyk Student Ship Design Competition, University of Michigan students prove they are the ones to beat.
Since 2011, when Associate Professor Matthew Collette revamped his Marine Design Team Project course (NA 475), NAME students have consistently earned high honors at the Society for Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) Annual Meeting for their work in cutting-edge ship design.
The Dr. James A Lisnyk Student Ship Design Competition challenges groups of young people to design theoretical but practical cutting-edge vessels. Open to the world’s colleges and universities supporting maritime careers, the program has fostered teamwork and learning through competition. The award is presented annually at the SNAME meeting to the team that submits the best comprehensive ship design plan.
University of Michigan NAME teams have won the competition four times in the last seven years and placed in the top three multiple times as well. This year was no exception.
The winning team’s submission was a design for a Ballast-Free Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Carrier vessel. The concept represents a paradigm shift in vessel design. Implementing a cutting-edge structural design theory known as Advanced Double Hull allows for water to flow unimpeded through the bottom of the ship, as opposed to holding stagnant water in large tanks. Since ballast water discharge can contain a variety of biological materials (from toxic algae to cholera) that are often non-native, they can cause major damage to aquatic ecosystems. The constant flow of water in the Ballast-Free design reduces the environmental impact of transoceanic trade and can improve the overall efficiency of the vessel.
Finishing 3rd in this year’s competition, was a nuclear powered submarine (SSUN) that is designed to deploy unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV’s) from two launch bays: one forward and one amidships. The goal of the design was to address fundamental design challenges with stealth deployments of large vehicles from submarines while addressing future technology adaptation for the US Navy.
With the current continued development of unmanned vehicle technology from the land, air and sea, the capabilities of such a vessel could have far-ranging applications. Team members James Coller, James Spain, Darrell Hall, and James Carpenter were also awarded the Ackles Award by the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Department in April for their design.
Past winning teams have also included a variety of creative designs aimed at combating real world issues facing the challenges posed by a difficult marine environment including:
A 2011 Arctic Intervention Icebreaking vessel that is able to safely handle the challenges of the Arctic environment while installing and servicing subsea equipment. Unique design features include; a bow for icebreaking, an extended parallel midbody, and an expansive working deck. The long range and endurance capabilities allow the vessel to handle long term projects and the deck equipment and ROV facilities allow the ship to accomplish a wide range of subsea tasks.
A 2014 Research Vessel Floating Instrument Platform (FLIP) that is intentionally flooded to “flip” from horizontal to 90 degrees vertical which allows the platform to moor in position and conduct scientific experiments with minimal wave interference. This redesign of the original FLIP has self-propulsion and self-mooring capabilities with significant improvements in habitability and scientific capacity.
A 2016 Replacement Heavy Icebreaker aimed at expanding icebreaking, search and rescue, and law enforcement capabilities of the U.S. Coast Guard in the polar regions of the globe. Capable of continuously breaking 2.5 meters of ice at 3 knots, the Polar Storm has two helicopters, a Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP), two Rigid-hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) and an arctic research vessel.
These and more student ship designs are the result of Assistant Professor, Matthew D. Collette’s senior design capstone course, the best of which takes home the departmental Ackles Award each year and goes on to compete at SNAME for the Lisnyk honor. The course allows for small student teams to create, develop, and document original marine designs to contract design level and involves extensive project planning and weekly progress reporting. The course culminates in the oral presentation of the project to both faculty and marine industry experts.
Associate Professor Collette is proud, but not surprised by the student’s success. “Our recent string of successes in the Lisnyk competition reflects the growing strength of our students and the entire NAME curriculum from Engineering 100 through the NA 475 senior capstone. This recognition is a demonstration of the design vision, enthusiasm for the chosen profession, and the analytical skill contained in our student body. It is wonderful to watch our students receive international accolades for their hard work at the start of their careers.”