Proposal: Titanium Shipbuilding Should-Cost study

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TITLE: Naval Innovation Laboratory Pilot Projects: Titanium Shipbuilding Should-Cost study

POC: Dr. Brandon Taravella UNO School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering EN-931 Tel: 504-280-6643




This proposal addresses several topics of direct naval relevance:

At the topmost level, the architecture of the project as a trial case for a Naval Innovation Laboratory is directly relevant to needs expressed by the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Research for using innovation to create battlefield asymmetry.

Having the UNO School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering work in close relationship with NSWC-Carderock also increases the visibility of civilian naval career options to UNO graduates, increasing the flow of graduates to Navy positions. This supports the Navy’s stated need for naval engineering education, as promulgated in the National Naval Responsibilities – Naval Engineering program dating from 2001.

The Titanium Should-Cost Pilot Project addresses a real and current research interest from ONR.


The University of New Orleans School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering is unique in many ways, not least is in having close relations with significant commercial entities, including commercial innovators such as AUSTAL USA (Mobile, AL) and INCAT-Crowther (Morgan City, LA) as well as commercial ‘workhorses’ such as Trinity Barges (Madisonville, LA) and many others. UNO School of NAME is also the only such school to represent the inland waterways of the American Marine Highway.

There has been discussion of increasing the interface between the UNO School of NAME and the US Navy R&D community through creation of a Naval Innovation Laboratory at UNO. The present project is suggested as one of a suite of pilot projects which would demonstrate the capabilities of UNO NAME to the Navy, and serve as a role model for possible future development of such a laboratory, in the interest of generating multi-year funding from several sources.

Thus, this project proposal consists of two elements: The over-arching architecture of the Naval Innovation Laboratory, and then the two pilot projects under that umbrella.

The over-arching laboratory structure is minor, and will consist of having one Naval Project Coordinator assist in maintaining global vision for the center. Our proposed person for this role is Mr. Chris McKesson, Research Associate. Mr. McKesson is currently funded by ONR under a multi-year grant for Naval Innovation, so this additional duty would be a modest increase in work scope, not a new position.

The Pilot Projects form the heart of the program. The project proposed herein is: • Titanium Shipbuilding “Should-Cost” project Pilot Project: Titanium Shipbuilding “Should-Cost”

The first Pilot Project is a design project to be pursued in collaboration with NSWC-Carderock/CISD, for a titanium-hulled ship. This project would be married to Dr. Dong’s ongoing Titanium producibility project, ONR Grant [[]]. The pilot Project would support the ongoing project by viewing the question from the opposite hand: “How much would Titanium shipbuilding HAVE to cost, in order for it to be the same price as steel shipbuilding?” This would lead to producing target values for weld productivity, material supply costs and service life requirement.

A ship’s service life is directly related to its fatigue life and its ability to resist corrosion. Titanium is said to have a much higher fatigue threshold than the typical construction materials of steel and aluminum. It is also said not to corrode over time. This project (in parallel with Dr. Dong’s project) will investigate the improvements in fatigue life of a titanium hull. For this project, we will consider a newly designed (structurally) titanium hull as opposed to a typical steel hull of an already in-service Navy vessel (LPD, LHA, FFG, etc.).

The Pilot Project would be structured so that the output product would be a student’s Master’s Thesis. We have a student in mind for this role, Ms. Carrie Sell, as she has already expressed interest in working under Dr. Dong, and she also will be working this summer (summer 2010) at NSWC-Carderock / CISD.

Project funds would be used to support the student, to acquire a commercial ship cost estimating software package, for travel/coordination with Carderock, and project administration.

Note again that Ms. Sell will be working at Carderock this summer, so we would attempt to overlap this with her Government assignment for maximum coordination, including a working relationship with the cost estimating model provider.


The proposed research efforts benefits multiple stakeholders in a win/win architecture:

  • We would amplify and expand the existing ONR Titanium project to provide important metric information on a short timeline
  • We would cement relations between our faculty and student body and NSWC-Carderock on the Titanium project
  • We would demonstrate the capability of the UNO School of NAME and increase the chance of multi-year follow-on support


The total single-year project request is $197,000.

Grad Student Undergraduate student worker Program Administration meaning McKesson Travel six three-person trips to DC for three days each Software ESTI-MATE

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