Load Carrying Behaviour of Window Structures

Field of Research: Load Carrying Behaviour, Ship Structural Design

Duration: 01.11.2010 – 31.10.2012

Project Leader: Prof. Dr.-Ing. W. Fricke

Funded by: AiF (coordinated by CMT), FKZ 16475N

Windows of cruise ship

Sketch of experimental setup: shear test (left), load test (right)


In the superstructure or deckhouses of passenger vessels and on yachts several large windows are arranged. So far the load-carrying of windows in ship structures subjected to shear loads has been neglected. With increasing window size the interaction between window and surrounding steel structure becomes more important. Neglecting the window stiffness often leads to a conservative design and errors in calculations of eigenfrequencies.

Another aspect investigated in this project concerns the ultimate strength of window structures under lateral pressure loads. Failure of windows has repeatedly led to danger for ships and persons on board. A sufficient load-carrying capacity of ship windows is necessary in cases of wave impacts as well as in damage condition to avoid progressive flooding. Time to rescue lives is significantly determined by the superstructure’s watertightness.

The objective of this project is to extend the knowledge of structural behaviour of windows on board of ships. Therefore experiments as well as numerical analysis are carried out.


Fricke, W. and Gerlach, B.: Effect of large openings without and with windows on the shear stiffness of side walls in passenger ships, Ships and Offshore Structures 2014, DOI: 10.1080/17445302.2014.912048

Fricke, W.; Gerlach, B. and Guiard, M.: Experimental and numerical investigation on the load carrying behaviour of large ship windows. Proc. 33rd Int. Conf. on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engng. OMAE2014-23803, ASME 2014.

Fricke, W.; Gerlach, B. and Guiard, M.: Effect of window openings on the stiffness of walls and bulkheads in ships. Proc. of the 7th Int. Conf. on Thin-Walled Structures (ICTWS2014-0104), Eds. J.K. Paik, S.K. Kim and C.H. Hong, Pusan National University, 2014.

Gerlach, B. und Fricke, W.: Strukturverhalten großer Schiffsfenster. HANSA 151 (2014), Heft 3, 63-67.

Gerlach, W. Fricke: Untersuchungen zum Struktur- und Tragverhalten großer Schiffsfenster. Jahrbuch der Schiffbautechnischen Gesellschaft, 107. Bd. (2013), Schifffahrts-Verlag „Hansa“ C. Schroeder & Co., Hamburg.

Fricke, B.Gerlach, M. Guiard: Strukturverhalten großer Fenster an Bord von Schiffen. CMT-Bericht 22/2013, Center of Maritime Technologies, Hamburg 2013

Gerlach: Untersuchungen zum Strukturverhalten von großen Schiffsfenstern. Ingenieurspiegel 2/2013, 84-85.

B. Gerlach