naval architecture

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naval architecture,

science of designing ships. A naval architect must consider especially the following factors: floatability, i.e., the ability of the ship to remain afloat while meeting the requirements of the vessel's service under normal and abnormal weather and water conditions or after being damaged by collision or grounding; strength sufficient to withstand loads for which the vessel is intended; stability, i.e., the capability of the vessel to return to an upright position after being inclined by wind, sea, or conditions of loading; speed, which is affected by the outline of the hull and the type of engines, boilers, and propellers; steering, i.e., the design of the rudder and the hull structure to effect efficient turning; living conditions, including adequate ventilation and other health and safety considerations; and the arrangement of the structure and equipment to facilitate handling of cargoes. Additional problems are faced in the design of warships. Heavy, concentrated loads in the form of gun turrets, the protective armor, and other factors make warship design a field in itself. The three principal plans made for the construction of a ship are the sheer plan, a profile of the ship, showing the outline of the intersection of a series of vertical longitudinal planes with the shell of the ship and including the location of the transverse bulkheads, decks, and main structures; the body plan, a view showing sections made by vertical transverse planes; and the half-breadth plan, indicating the outline of a series of horizontal longitudinal planes. In addition, innumerable general and detail drawings are made, which include all the internal and external equipment.


See J. P. Comstock, ed., Principles of Naval Architecture (1967); R. Munro-Smith, Applied Naval Architecture (1967); T. C. Gillmer, Modern Ship Design (1970); B. Baxter, Naval Architecture: Examples and Theory (1977).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Naval Architecture


a name once used to embrace all the scientific shipbuilding disciplines. Naval architecture included such independent divisions of the science of ships and shipbuilding as the theory of naval architecture, the structural mechanics of ships, ship vibration theory, ship designing theory, shipbuilding technology, hull construction, and ship propulsion plants. In a narrower sense naval architecture refers to the group of scientific disciplines that treat the structure of a ship as a whole as well as the structure of its various elements. In the USA and Great Britain the term “naval architecture” is often used in the earlier meaning, although some disciplines are grouped separately under the name “theoretical naval architecture.”

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

naval architecture

[′nā·vəl ′är·kə‚tek·chər]
The study of the physical characteristics and the design and construction of buoyant structures, such as ships, boats, barges, submarines, and floats, which operate in water; includes the construction and operation of the power plant and other mechanical equipment of these structures.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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