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Should stiff or soft fenders be designed for berthing in piers?

The elasticity of fenders is related to the ability to release the stored energy during berthing of vessels. However, it has no effect on the reaction force and the deflection of fender system. The amount of energy that a fender can absorb is dependent on the reaction-deflection curve and is represented by the area under the curve. The higher is the reaction force, the higher amount of energy would be absorbed by the fender provided that the resistance of ships’ hull is sufficient to withstand the force without permanent deformations.

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Can water help dissipate part of berthing energy?

Depending on the configuration of pier, water could help dissipate part of berthing energy. For instance, for closed docks in which there is a solid wall going down directly to the bottom of seabed, the quay wall will push back all the water that is being moved by the vessel and creates a cushion effect which dissipates part of berthing energy (10-20%). On the contrary, for open dock in with piles beneath and water can flow through the underside of piers, there shall be no cushion effect of water.

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Why do vessel operators choose to contact the fender system at its bow instead of mid-ship location during berthing operation?

When calculating berthing energy of vessels, there is a factor called “eccentricity factor” which accounts for different berthing energy when the vessel contact the fender system at different locations of the vessel.

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

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.

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For underwater concreting, tremie pipes are normally used with the aid of hoppers. Sometimes tubes are inserted inside the hoppers. Why?

In placing concrete by tremie pipes, hoppers are connected to their top for receiving freshly placed concrete. However, air may be trapped inside the tremie pipes if there is rapid feeding of fresh concrete.

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