In fender design, when calculating the berthing energy absorbed by fenders, should engineers take into account energy absorbed by piers?

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The design of a fender system is based on the principle of conservation of energy. The amount of energy brought about by berthing vessels into the system must be determined, and then the fender system is devised to absorb the energy within the force and stress limitations of the ship’s hull, the fender, and the pier.

Firstly, the energy released by the largest/heaviest vessel allowed to use on the pier is determined to be delivered to the pier by first impact. Then, the energy that can be absorbed by the pier would be calculated. For pier structures that are linearly elastic, the energy is one-half the maximum static load times the amount of deflection. However, in case the structure is extremely rigid, it can be assumed to absorb no energy.


The energy to be absorbed by fender system should be the total energy of berthing vessels deducting the energy absorption by pier structures. Finally, a fender system capable of absorbing the amount of energy without exceeding the maximum allowable force in the pier should be chosen from fender product catalogue.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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  • antonio silverio torres July 19, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Hi dear!

    I’m writing from Brazil.
    I have a doubt. Could you enlighten me?
    In the case of multiple fenses, by example, multiple cases of contact, what is the procedure to select the energy for each fense?

    Thank you very much

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