Maintaining offshore steel structures is challenging and not environmentally friendly due to the frequent visits for inspection and repairs. Some offshore lighthouses are equipped with carbon steel helidecks fixed onto their lantern galleries in the 1970s to provide easy and safe access to maintenance staff and inspectors. Even though the helidecks supporting structures have maintained their integrity and are still functional in the offshore harsh environmental conditions, their inspection and maintenance remains a challenge due to the need of frequent visits which requires flying to the location of the lighthouse to bring the maintenance staff and equipment. We have developed a multidisciplinary computational framework to design new generation of aluminium helidecks for offshore lighthouses. We calculated the wind speed at the location of the Bishop Rock lighthouse based on the meteorological data, and the load distribution on the helideck due to such a wind condition, using computational fluid dynamic analysis. Then, we used the calculated wind load with other mechanical loads in the events of normal and emergency landings of a helicopter on this structure to find the best design configuration for this helideck. We generated a design space for different configurations of a beam structure and carried out, static, transient and buckling analysis to assess each case using finite element method. The selection criterion was set to find the structure with the minimum volume fraction and compliance while keeping the stress below the allowable stress. We found the structure with eight vertical and circumferential sections featuring two rows of diagonal bracing with one at the base and the other one at the third section from the base of the helideck was the optimum design for the considered loading in this work. This framework can be adopted for the design and optimisation of other offshore structures by other researchers and designers.



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Journal of Marine Science and Engineering





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School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics